“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” Luke 2:13-14 (ESV)
Have you ever wondered what that angel song sounded like? Were the angels singing the sound of Beethoven’s Ninth with booming drums and crescendo surrounded by deep bass voices elevated by sopranos and altos? Or was it a concerto styled like Mozart or a lullaby from Brahms? Was it other worldly? Did it lift the souls or send chills down the spines of the shepherds who had to be told, “Fear not, for behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”
Was the heavenly host composed of a choir? Was there a solo, were there instruments, did it sound like something we would know or appreciate? Maybe it was otherworldly. Perhaps it was relatable to the music of the day and would be something else entirely were it to happen today. Created in the image of God, mankind has a sense of aesthetic. We can tell when something is good or bad. I do not mean like a dog who likes the beef and carrot food, but not the chicken and rice food. I mean we know intrinsically that something, though it may not be to our personal taste, is beautiful and glorious. Music is one of those things.
The Heavenly Host sang. They related great joy and a miracle through a song in the heavens appreciable to the ears of mankind. We do not know the rhythm and meter. We do not know if there were soloists or instruments. We do not know how long it lasted. But we know the angels sang with great joy over the restoration of Immanuel. We had walked in the garden with the king then, after exile, could do it no more till then. God had come back and it was time to sing songs of joy across the heavens.
There is so much we do not know about the angels’ sound and song. But we know they celebrated and it was cause for joy and peace. We know they appeared first to shepherds, a class of people so low that their testimony was not even allowed in courts. We know those shepherds were told the joy was for all the people. We know too what they found — a baby in a manger wrapped in cloths. This was the king of kings, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Father on whose shoulders the government would rest.
Christmas can be a time of darkness for many. People get overwhelmed with burdens and worries and fears. They worry about the right gift or if they can give gifts at all. They worry about making ends meet, the tax bill due, the health of loved ones, and so many other worries that like the angels’ song we may not know all the details, but we know enough to know those burdens exist.
Commercialism and secularism make this a time of year of purchase and lights and elves on shelves when what it really is about is a baby who came to give great joy for all the people. We do not know how the angels sounded except we know they sounded filled with joy. So should we all be this Christmas season. For unto us a child is born who can take up your burdens and fill you with peace. Merry Christmas.