Angels We Have Heard on High

By: Steve Negley

Posted: January 1, 2019

Category: Daily Devotional

The Twelve Days of Christmas Carols
Christmastide Reflections on Songs of the Season

The angels play a significant role in announcing the birth of Christ and the coming reign of God. The other-worldly angelic proclamation also serves to open the scene to earthly beings, like the shepherds, who will join in glorifying and praising God.

The message of the heavenly choir enthralls and inspires earthly choristers in the carol “Angels We Have Heard on High.” By including this song as selection 113 in the Glory to God Presbyterian Hymnal the editors help us to celebrate Christ’s birth along with the angels. They note that “this French carol probably dates from the 1700s, though it was not printed until the following century. Because it uses a vernacular language for the narrative stanzas and Latin for the refrain, it belongs to a special category called “macaronic” or mixed-language texts.”

The invitation was there for the shepherds, and it is there for us, to join in giving God the glory.

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!

Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be which inspire your heavenly song?
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

 Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing;
come, adore on bended knee Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!


 God my Creator, You have given me a mouth to speak Your praise, and another year in which to do that. Help me to spend time each day glorifying Your name, as a disciple of Your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus. Amen.