Angels We Have Heard on High

five days

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And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’ ” (Luke 2:8-12).

Outside of the city of Bethlehem is Migdal Eder, the Tower of the Flock, where shepherds raised lambs for the Temple of Jerusalem. “Every firstborn male lamb from the area around Bethlehem was considered holy, set aside for sacrifice in Jerusalem…After pouring their lives out into their flocks, the shepherds would separate the lambs, choosing only the perfect firstborn males to drive to Jerusalem. There the lambs would be purchased by those who wished to atone for their sins. On the same mountain where Abraham had offered his son to the Lord, the lambs would shed their blood and lose their lives as that atonement. It was an endless cycle.” (1)

It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins. Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: ‘Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, ‘Here I am—it is written about me in the scroll— I have come to do your will, my God‘ ” (Hebrews 10:4-7)

When he [John the Baptist] saw Jesus passing by, he said, ‘Look, the Lamb of God!‘ ” (John 1:36).

Our Savior, Jesus, was born in Bethlehem, lived a perfect life as a man on earth, and on Palm Sunday entered through the Sheep Gate into Jerusalem. God’s firstborn Son was sacrificed on the cross and His blood was shed for the atonement of our sins. Jesus Christ was our ultimate and satisfactory peace offering.

After the shepherds visited Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus, “[they] went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them” (Luke 2:20).

song of the day:

Angels We Have Heard on High
written by Bishop James Chadwick (in 1860) & Earl Marlatt (in 1937)
sung by Sixpence None the Richer

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?

Come to Bethlehem and see
Christ Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

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