The Angels' Song
Sometimes I write because I have something to say. Other times I write because I have to say something. I don’t know if this play on words is original to the person from whom I heard it. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that everyone who enjoys writing has times when they are writing because they have to say something. So tonight, as I sit to write, in order to say something meaningful, I borrow from others, which is perfectly okay.
Today, an email came from a colleague offering a quote from a 17th century Anglican Cleric by the name of Thoman Traherne.
Love can forbear, and Love can forgive...but love can never be reconciled to an unlovely object...He can never therefore be reconciled to your sin, because sin itself is incapable of being altered; but He may be reconciled to your person, because that may be restored.
And so every Christmas season we sing, “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” with its emphasis on God and sinners being reconciled. The angels’ song speaks of the gospel message. The song is talking about reconciling heaven and earth. The gospel is more than just “good news.” The gospel message goes beyond good news to proclaiming history is forever changed. Reconciliation between God and humankind is now possible. What was lost can now be restored. In sending His Son, Jesus, God is saying, “My presence in your world changes everything.”
All of us are busy, especially at this time of year, and yet it is at this very time, that a divine interruption is announced to lowly shepherds on a hillside watching over sheep. Many of those sheep will become sacrificial lambs. And just beyond the hillside, in the town of Bethlehem, the birth of the final and ultimate sacrificial lamb is taking place.
No matter what is going on in your world, the arrival of Jesus changes everything. We are no longer waiting for a Messiah. Heaven has come to earth - it’s here now. The message comes to us as shepherds. It says, “Wherever you are in the margins, wherever you are powerless - God is there. This life is not so much about what we’re going to do for God, it’s about what GOD has ALREADY done for us!
You write about that because you have something to say.
And you write about that because you have to say something.
Joyfull all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the’angelic host proclaim
Christ is born in Bethlehem!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.