20-4 Little Town of Bethlehem

listen not
Listen to Little Town of Bethlehem

O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King
and peace to all the earth.

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 2:13-14)

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” The first Christmas carol. Sung by the angels. Sung of Christ and the salvation He brings to earth. Salvation that gives glory to God, peace on earth, and goodwill toward men. There had been no peace on earth since Adam’s fall. The story of mankind has been the story of wars within and wars without. Conscience fighting man, Satan tormenting man, man attacking man. Now salvation has come, wrapped in swaddling cloths, the white flag of peace. The peace treaty signed in the manger. Man’s Judge has become his Savior. A right relationship between heaven and earth has been restored. God at peace with man and man at peace with God. “Glory to God in the highest.” An old song of the angels. Now they are singing a new song for they have added the stanza, “on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” It is with great joy and gladness that the angels herald salvation. For the birth of Jesus is an event that, above all others, brings glory to God. Never before had such a display of God’s perfect holiness and justice been seen. The angels understand that this little Baby lying in the lowly manger is the unsurpassed display of the benevolence, the love—the goodwill of God toward man. (see Charles Spurgeon, The First Christmas Carol).

The angels proclaimed the Savior’s birth to the lowly shepherds. Gladness in their eyes, love burning in their hearts, joy filling their souls. They burst forth in glad adoration praising God for He has brought salvation to earth. Salvation. God’s highest glory. The angels understand that in wisdom God had devised a plan for our redemption. In power He has executed it by giving us His Only Son. In mercy He is bringing peace on earth because of His goodwill. Such peace can be known only if we, like the angels, yield our eyes, our hearts, our souls to Him.

The angels’ praise puts God first, middle, and last. There is none other. “Glory to God in the highest.” You were created, not to perish, but to know God, that He could become your Father. Has He? Is your heart, your soul, your mind, at peace with your Judge and Savior? Do you believe that God is looking upon you with His good pleasure? Even now you can join the stars and the angels singing, “O morning stars, together proclaim the holy birth, and praises sing to God the King and peace to all the earth.”