Advent Preaching About The Angels’ Song

Advent Preaching About The Angels’ Song

In the last post we looked at the song that Mary sang when she met Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.  The angels sang a song as well.  In this post we’re going to consider advent preaching about the angels’ song to the shepherds.


Joshua Bell in the Metro

I began this message with a video of Joshua Bell, a world famous violinist.  Only this time he was playing in a Metro station in Washington, DC.  He was in a baseball cap, t-shirt and jeans.   Here’s a video of him playing.  He played for 45 minutes, six great classical pieces, and used a Stradivarius violin valued at $3.5 million.  While he played 1097 people passed by.

Only 7 people stopped to listen for a minute or more.  At the time, people paid Bell  $1000 per minute for concerts.  On that day he received $32.17 from people who tossed coins in his case.  Only 2 people stopped and really listened.  One was a postal worker who had learned violin as a child, and he realized how good this artist was.  The other was the only person who recognized him.  She was named Stacy, and had seen him in concert 3 weeks earlier.

The Reaction

She said to a reporter from the Washington Post, “It was the most astonishing thing I’ve ever seen in Washington.  Joshua Bell was standing there playing in rush hour, and people were not even stopping, not even looking, and some were flipping quarters at him!  Quarters!  I was thinking, what kind of a city do I live in that this could happen?”

This is a great introduction for Jesus coming in humble circumstances, not acknowledged by people, but our concern is to consider Advent preaching about the angels’ song to the shepherds.  This was truly a heavenly chorus, but only a few lowly shepherds heard it.

The Shepherds Hear the Angels’ Song

First, consider the shepherds.  We are told in Luke 2:8-20 that they were living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks by night.  In the Old Testament, shepherding was considered an honorable profession practiced by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David, among others, but by the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherding had lost its luster.  Shepherds were the lowest class of people, just ahead of lepers in the hierarchy of the day.  They were not trusted as witnesses in court, because they had the reputation of being liars.  People would lock their doors when shepherds were in town because they feared thefts.  Because they didn’t keep the ceremonial aspects of the law, people considered shepherds as irreligious.   Yet, they are the ones who hear this angel chorus.

The Message Preceding The  Angels’ Song

Let’s look at the message word by word:

Good News of Great Joy For All People

  • Good News:  The root of this word is the gospel.  The same word root gives us the word evangelize.  In other words, Advent preaching about the Angels’ song is necessary, because this message is something that should be shared.
  • Great Joy:  The result of hearing this message should be “great joy”.  Because Jesus came, people can now experience joy.
  • For all the people: This news is not for a privileged few.  Even shepherds, the lowest of the low in that culture are intended hearers.

In A Particular Place And Time

  • Today: It happened at a particular time in history.  Galatians 4:4 is appropriate here, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law.”  This is not a fable.  It is an event that is rooted in time.
  • Town of David: The Messiah is a direct descendant of David.

A Savior for You

  • Savior: The name Jesus means Savior, or Deliverer.  He came to save us.
  • Born to you:  Jesus came for people personally.
  • Christ: The New Testament word for Messiah, or Anointed One.
  • Lord: Jesus is God, and therefore demands our total submission and full allegiance.

The Resulting Angels’ Song

The angels’ sang, “Glory to God in the highest.”  The result is the song is the praise of the angels.  The angels sing because God has kept his promises.  The word “glory” is interesting here.  It means “weight” at its root.

In other words, Advent preaching about the angels’ song means that we attribute great importance, or weight to God.  He is the focus of attention.

The Song also says this birth means peace to those on whom his favor rests.  God wants to restore Shalom, the Old Testament word for peace.  Shalom means more than just a peaceful feeling.  It means a settled idea that everything is as it should be.

Preaching the Angels’ Song

All of the above is great information as you think of advent preaching about the angels’ song to your church, but we still need to answer the question, “So what?”

  • We need Jesus.  Here’s how a Christmas card put it:  If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator.  If our greatest need was technology, God would have sent us a financial planner.  If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us a financial planner.  But since our greatest need was forgiveness, God sent us a Savior.
  • We need peace.  the world is, as you know, a messy place.  Jesus can bring Shalom.  Offer it to your people.