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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Hymns’

Angels From the Realms of Glory

 

It  is a wonderful season of the year! There is excitement in the air as people prepare for family gatherings. This children’s excitement is very infectious! All of the wonder and anticipation that we see in their eyes makes this a very special time.  It is also a time when we hear more about peace on earth and good will toward men.

We all love the Christmas carols! It almost seems a shame that we only sing some of them at this time of the year. One beautiful hymn that expresses so well the meaning of Christmas is “Angels From the Realms of Glory”.  The composer James Montgomery gave us a beloved hymn to sing every year that pictures so well the birth of Jesus as told in the gospels of Matthew and Luke.

James Montgomery, the son of a Moravian minister was born at Irvine, Ayrshire, November 4, 1771. In 1776 his family moved to the county of Antrim. Two years later he was sent to the Fulneck Seminary in Yorkshire. When he left there he went to work at a retail shop. He composed poems but was unable to get them published. At the age of 23, James took over a newspaper, the Sheffield Registerand changed the name to Sheffield Iris where he continued as editor for thirty-one years. During this time he was able to publish his poems. He gave lectures on poetry at the Royal Institution in London. Mr. Montgomery was also a strong advocate of the Foreign Missions and Bible Society in many parts of England. He lived peacefully to the old age of 82 and died in his sleep. After his death in 1854 he was honored with a public funeral. A statue was erected in his memory and a stained glass window was made in his honor at the parish church. A Wesleyan chapel was also named in his honor. (Recall that Charles Wesley was also a composer of Christian music including another famous Christmas hymn “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” – see my post on December 21, 2016).

Henry T. Smart composed the tune for “Angels From the Realms of Glory” in 1866. It was originally written as the tune called “Regent Square”. It was first published in a Presbyterian hymnal for the Regent Square Church.

 

At Christmas we remember that Jesus was born in a stable. We can picture Mary and Joseph there. The shepherds came. The angels gathered in the skies singing praise to God! What beautiful pictures of love, peace, and joy.

 

We can read about the birth of Christ in Luke’s and Matthew’s gospels. The verses in the hymn “Angels From the Realms of Glory” proclaim the story in an awe-inspiring and majestic song!

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. (Luke 2:13-14)

1 Angels from the realms of glory,
wing your flight through all the earth;
heralds of creation’s story
now proclaim Messiah’s birth!
Come and worship
Christ, the new-born king;
come and worship,
worship Christ the new-born king.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “do not be afraid; for behold I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you; you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)

2 Shepherds in the fields abiding,
watching by your flocks at night,
God with us is now residing:
see, there shines the infant light!
Come and worship
Christ, the new-born king;
come and worship,
worship Christ the new-born king.

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have
come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.  Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:

‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah;
For out of you shall come forth a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”

Then Herod secretly called the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” After hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way.(Matthew 2:1-12)

 3 Wise men, leave your contemplations!
brighter visions shine afar;
seek in him the hope of nations,
you have seen his rising star:
Come and worship
Christ, the new-born king;
come and worship,
worship Christ the new-born king.

In the last verse we are given a picture of the glorious future for Christ and all those who love Him.

4 Though an infant now we view him,
He will share his Father’s throne,
gather all the nations to him;
every knee shall then bow down:
Come and worship
Christ, the new-born king;
come and worship,
worship Christ the new-born king.

God bless you all this Christmas! In all of the hustle and bustle take time out to remember that the best gift of all is the Lord Jesus Christ. May the true meaning of Christmas remain in your hearts forever.

 

 

 

 

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