Praise ye him, all His angels;
Praise ye Him, all His hosts.
Our earliest perceptions of angels are probably associated with the story of the birth of Jesus. As children, we saw pictures of the heavenly hosts visiting the awe-struck shepherds. We watched our mothers carefully place the angel sculptures in their cherished Nativity scenes. And on Christmas morning we raised out childish voices with the congregation to sing “Hark!” The herald angels sing.”
The word “angel comes from the Greek “angelos”, “messenger.” The most important message the angels ever brought from heaven to earth told of the birth of God’s Son. After delivering their blessed message, the heavenly hosts burst forth in praise.
What better way to offer praise than through music! A heaven choir accompanied by angelic musicians is one of the most beloved images of Christmas. Many of the world’s greatest artists have portrayed angels with their musical instruments.
“Madonna and Child with Angels” by Hans Memling shows the Virgin Mary and the Infant Jesus with two angels, one of whom is playing music in their honor. Some of the works of Melozzo da Forli, a fifteenth-century Italian painter, are preserved in the Vatican Museum. His angels are shown in Renaissance-style garments, playing such instruments as mandolins and lutes.
The artistic heritage of the masters is preserved in your “Angels in Celebration” by Lenox, a magnificent two-piece work of art depicting heavenly musicians.
God of glorious music and good news, we join in celebration with the angel’s singing. May our ears be unstopped and upturned to hear the herald angels’ songs of joy and lift our voices too. Amen.