If you haven’t heard the music, it may be because you’re not listening. What music? The song first sung over the fields of Bethlehem as angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests” (Luke 2:14). The traditional French carol put it, “Angels we have heard on high/ Sweetly singing o’er the plains:/ And the mountains in reply, Echoing their joyous strains./ Gloria in excelsis Deo! Gloria in excelsis Deo.”
Who would have thought about a choir of angels on that dark night long ago? Life had gone on day after day, year after year, decade after decade, and then, suddenly, catching us unaware, the sky lit up with a heavenly light and angels appeared. Not a few either, “a great company” of them, says Luke.
If you haven’t heard the music, it may be because the song has been drowned out by a cacophony of competing songs such as “Rudolph The Red-nosed Reindeer” and “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” It isn’t easy to catch the tune, I mean the original one which started the whole business of Christmas.
Today, by and large, we’ve lost the original score. It’s been pushed aside and neglected. No wonder kids don’t really know what Christmas is about. But so much for the negative. Here’s the question: How do you hear the music?
First, shut off the radio and the TV, the noise and din of traffic, and go out and look up in the starry hosts of heaven. Back at Creation—way back in the beginning—there was singing and joy as God spread the stars across the great universe. Only a very short distance from the place where the original composition was sung in Shepherd’s Field at Bethlehem, David wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1). David talked about the harmony of creation and the voice of creation going to ends of the world. Wow! Talk about music!
You can’t focus on the stars of heaven without thinking of Him who put them there, realizing that you are of far greater value to Him than inanimate objects in space. Now, get the score of the Bethlehem song—the one that the angels sang announcing the birth of Jesus. I don’t know how much of a musician he was, but Luke, the writer of the second Gospel, is the one who recorded it for us.
Here’s what he said, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests’” (Luke 2:8-14).
When I hear a song for the first time, I usually hum the tune to myself and get it fixed in my mind. If the music is written, I sight-read the melody and get a feel for what it sounds like. Do the same with the Bethlehem melody. If you haven’t heard the music, it’s likely that you haven’t been listening. Heads up. Listen, you can still hear the music. It’s a symphony of joy.
Resource Reading: Luke 2:8-20
Text: Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:13-14
GUIDELINES with Harold Sala – December 21, 2017