Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”
Earlier this week, I spent a few days in the Algarve in Portugal. It was a good, restful break, which was much needed after a busy few months at work! It also a bit of a change, because, as a musician, I often find myself extremely busy in the weeks running up to Christmas, with lots of church services to play, sometimes events outside church, and perhaps even the occasional wedding. This year, though, things have been a little quieter and more relaxed! This has given me more time in the run up to Christmas to reflect on the true meaning of the festival, the significance of Christ’s birth, and the reasons for the angels’ song in Luke 2.
In today’s verse, the angels, who have just announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds, praise God. They are unable to contain their joy at the birth of the promised messiah, such an important part of God’s plan for the world. They give glory to God for the amazing miracle of Christ’s birth. They also recognise the significance of Jesus’ birth for the people of earth; God’s peace, the peace of salvation for all those who choose to accept God’s authority, has come. Those on whom God’s favour rests – those who believe and trust that Jesus is their saviour – need never worry about death again.
The angels encapsulate the true meaning of Christmas in just a few words. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this year, let us reflect on the peace that we can have in Christ. Let’s pray that, like the angels, our joy at Christ’s birth will pour out of us, and that all whom we encounter will learn more of Christ through our example.