ANGELS, FROM THE REALMS OF GLORY
James Montgomery, 1771–1854
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (Luke 2:9)
All my heart this night rejoices as I hear, far and near,
Sweetest angel voices. “Christ is born” their choirs are singing,
Till the air everywhere now with joy is ringing.
“Angels, From the Realms of Glory” is considered by many students of hymnody to be one of our finest Christmas hymns. In a unique style it addresses first the angelic chorus in the first stanza, then the shepherds in the second stanza, the wise men in the third, and finally today’s believers—calling all to worship Christ our King. Worship is the very essence of the entire Christmas story.
James Montgomery was known as a deeply devoted, noble person who made an important contribution to English hymnody through his many inspiring texts. At the age of 23 he was appointed editor of the weekly Sheffield Register in London, maintaining this position for the next 31 years. As editor of this paper Montgomery championed many different causes, such as the abolition of slavery. “Angels, From the Realms of Glory” first appeared as a poem in Montgomery’s newspaper on December 24, 1816. Later it was published in a hymnal titled Montgomery’s Original Hymns and was known as “Good Tidings of Great Joy to All People.”
Angels, from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth; ye who sang creation’s story, now proclaim Messiah’s birth:
Shepherds, in the fields abiding, watching o’er your flocks by night, God with man is now residing; yonder shines the infant Light:
Sages, leave your contemplations, brighter visions beam afar; seek the great desire of nations; ye have seen His natal star:
Saints before the altar bending, watching long in hope and fear, suddenly the Lord, descending, in His temple shall appear:
Refrain: Come and worship, come and worship, worship Christ, the new-born King.
For Today: Isaiah 7:14; Haggai 2:7; Matthew 2:1–9, 23; Luke 2:7–20; John 1:14
Just as the angels, shepherds, and wise men all bowed their knee in the worship of Christ, may we pause in our busy lives to do the same. Carry this musical reminder with you—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign, Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and she shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
- For thus saith the Lord of hosts, Yet a little while, and I will shake the heavens and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land: Haggai 2:7
- When Jesus then was born at Bethlehem in Judea, in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came Wise men from the East to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is the King of the Jews that is born? for we have seen his star in the East, and are come to worship him. When king Herod heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And gathering together all the chief Priests and Scribes of the people, he asked of them, where Christ should be born. And they said him, At Bethlehem in Judea: for so it is written by the Prophet, And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judah, art not the least among the Princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come the governor that shall feed my people Israel. Then Herod privily called the Wise men, and diligently inquired of them the time of the star that appeared. And sent them to Bethlehem, saying, Go, and search diligently for the babe: and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come also, and worship him. So when they had heard the king, they departed, and lo, the star which they had seen in the East, went before them, till it came and stood over the place where the babe was. Matthew 2:1–9
- And went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophets, which was. That he should be called a Nazarite. Matthew 2:23
- And she brought forth her first begotten son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a cratch, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. And lo, the Angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone about them, and they were sore afraid. Then the Angel said unto them, Be not afraid: for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people, That is, that unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you. Ye shall find the babe swaddled, and laid in a cratch. And straightway there was with the Angel a multitude of heavenly soldiers, praising God, and saying, Glory be to God in the high heavens, and peace in earth, and toward men good will. And it came to pass when the Angels were gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said one to another, Let us go then unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed unto us. So they came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph and the babe laid in the cratch. And when they had seen it, they published abroad the thing that was told them of that child. And all that heard it, wondered at the things which were told them of the shepherds. But Mary kept all those sayings, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God, for all that they had heard and seen, as it was spoken unto them. Luke 2:7–20
- And that Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw the glory thereof, as the glory of the only begotten Son of the Father) full of grace and truth. John 1:14