Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sing Christmas: Dec 17

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:
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

Shepherds in the field abiding,
watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing;
yonder shines the infant Light:

Sages, leave your contemplations;
brighter visions beam afar:
seek the great desire of nations;
ye have seen his natal star:

Saints before the altar bending,
watching long in hope and fear,
suddenly the Lord, descending,

in his temple shall appear:

Though an infant now we view him,
He shall fill his Father’s throne,
Gather all the nations to him
Every knee shall then bow down.

James Montgomery 1771 -1854

James Montgomery was a Scottish poet, the child of a Moravian pastor. He became the editor of a Sheffield newspaper, called the Sheffield Iris, but although he wrote thought provoking articles, he never really had much of a head for business, and eventually had to sell the paper. He was a passionate campaigner, however, both for the abolition of slavery and the end of the exploitation of child chimney sweeps, and in a time of political repression and his views sometimes got him into trouble; he was twice imprisoned for sedition, although he ended his life very highly respected. He wrote a number of hymns, including “Hail to the Lord’s anointed” and “Stand up and bless the Lord”.

Perhaps it is especially appropriate that a newspaper man should be best known for a carol about angels, God’s messengers (the Greek “angelos” literally means “messenger”). In the carol we are taken, as if on the angels’ wings, on a guided tour of those to whom the news of Christ’s birth is announced. Shepherds, sages, and saints witness the birth of Christ. This is good news, for them and for us.

·         How did your first interest in Christian faith begin? Were there people or circumstances which drew you towards it?
·         How can you be good news to others today, in your words and deeds – the “angel” which brings them the message they need to hear?

Bible Reading: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’ Isaiah 52.7

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