HOTW: Sing, All Ye Citizens of Heaven!
Posted by Hal in Uncategorized

Rembrandt, "The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds," etching, 1634

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

Angels are God’s messengers, and they appear all through the story of Christ’s birth — the angel Gabriel explained God’s plan for Jesus’ birth to Mary (Luke 1:26-38) and then to Joseph (Matthew 1:18-25), and later an unnamed angel warned Joseph to take Jesus and Mary to Egypt for His safety (Matthew 2:13-15).  The most famous appearance, though, is a multitude of them who appeared to shepherds:

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”

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, goodwill toward men!”

(Luke 2:8-14)

So in this verse, we aren’t just surprised like the shepherds were — we’re cheering the angels on!  “Sing, choirs of angels! Sing in exaltation!”

And while the verse speaks of angels, we can also remember that  believers here on earth are also “citizens of heaven above.”  Paul says that we believers are “no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God”  (Ephesians 2:19) — “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 3:20)

This Christmas, we can raise our voices and join with the angels’, to praise the newborn and everlasting King!

Tip for Singing: Remember that Paul said we are supposed to be “speaking and admonishing one another” with our songs of worship ( ). That means our words should make sense!  And sometimes we have to think while we’re singing.   There are two ways to sing this verse — one sounds like:

Glory to God all,
Glory in the highest

Doesn’t it sound better if you sing it like you’d say it?

Glory to God,
All / Glory in the highest

So remember — you’re not singing to “God-all,” but instead you’re singing “Glory to God,” [yes indeed!] “All glory in the highest!”