Angels From the Realms of Glory

Angels From the Realms of Glory

Angels from the realms of glory,
Wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story,
Now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o’er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light;
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great desire of nations,
Ye have seen His natal star;
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

This particular Christmas hymn was written in the early 1800’s.  The author, James Montgomery, was reading Luke chapter two and Matthew chapter two and contemplating the Christmas story, and was inspired to pen the worlds of this great song.  Mr. Montgomery had a rather interesting and challenging upbringing.  His parents were Moravians – from part of what is now the modern day Czech Republic.  His parents were missionaries in Scotland and then they felt called to leave Scotland and go and minister in the island of Barbados (I am sure the Barbados in the 1800’s is a far cry from what our image of an island resort is now).  James was six years old when his parents placed him in a Moravian settlement in Ireland as they left to go on the mission field.  James would never see his parents again.  They would die while he was on the mission field.  James was later placed into schools in England, but when he didn’t do well, he was placed into an apprenticeship program to become a baker.  This career wasn’t for him and so he ran away, and spent his teenage years bouncing from one thing to the next.  He finally settled down in England, began writing, and eventually owned a local newspaper.  His editorials in his own newspaper, however, were often times controversial and he was thrown in jail on two separate occasions because of what he wrote.  His time in jail only made him more famous, and he used this fame to promote his favorite issues – the most important being the Gospel.  Even though he experienced great tragedy in his life, the loss of his parents on the mission field, Mr. Montgomery was devoted to the Gospel and to the Word.

What an interesting background!  A Moravian orphan that grew up in Scotland, and then Ireland, and then England.  A “drop-out,” failed apprentice who eventually owned his own business, and then was put in jail.  What a journey!  Did this unsettled upbringing leave him bitter?  Did his circumstances ruin him forever?  No.  In spite of all of these things, here’s a man who impacted his culture for Christ and is still impacting the Christian community 200 years later with the powerful words of this hymn.  What a testimony of God’s grace and the power of God to redeem bad situations!

Mr. Montgomery addresses four different groups in this great hymn.

  • Angels – The Worshipping Proclaimers of the Gospel.  Luke 2 tells us that the angels proclaimed the good news to the shepherds, but they didn’t stop there.  They were worshippers.  The multitude of the heavenly hosts proclaimed “Glory to God in the highest.”  We, too, can follow the examples of the angels.  We should be worshippers and proclaimers of the truth of the Gospel.  At Christmas and all throughout the year.
  • Shepherds –  The Worshipping, Obedient Poor – Shepherds were not from the upper class.  They weren’t the wealthy and influential.  They were the poor, common folk of the day.  But Jesus said “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  James tells us that God has chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom.  Luke 2 tells us that these shepherds obeyed the angels instructions.  That they sought the Christ-child with haste.  And that when they found Him, they too worshipped Him.  We, too, can follow the example of the shepherds in worship and in obedience.
  • Sages – The Worshipping Wise – The sages also were worshippers and seekers.  They weren’t dummys.  They weren’t fools.  They had studied the Scriptures.  They recognized the dramatic signs in the Heaven.  And when they found the babe, they worshipped Him.  How did they worship Him?  With just words?  No.  With just actions?  No.  With words, and actions, and treasures.  They bowed down and presented Him things that were costly. What can we learn from these wise men?  To study the Scriptures.  To seek diligently the Savior of the World.  To bring Him worship that is worthy of Him.  Worship with our words, our hearts, and our treasures.
  • Saints – The Worshipping Redeemed.  Saints are those that have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  Those that have been cleansed and washed and saved by the Savior.  What is their response to this great salvation?  Worship.  Praise.  Adoration.  Devotion to the Lord.

I hope this Christmas season our focus is on worship of the Lord.  To come and worship.  Worship Christ the newborn King.  To celebrate His first Advent, and to remember that He is coming again.  Whether we are like the shepherds or like the wise men, our responsibility is the same – to worship.  We are to proclaim the good news to a lost world that has lost sight of the true meaning of Christmas.  This world is filled with people like James Montgomery.  People with difficult circumstances. People with troubled pasts.  Lives that seems directionless and hopeless.  Yet in spite of all of these “negatives,” God is still calling, redeeming and changing the lives of people.  And He is still using people like you and me to be His hands and feet.  Will you seek out these lost people this time of year and share the love of Christ with them?

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