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 among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:13-14
It was the first Latin words I ever learned, and I never forgot them. They say in learning a foreign language, it is best to consistently and frequently use that language in order to learn and, possibly, master it.
I’ve always regretted not taking Latin in college when I had the chance. My friend, Paul, took Latin and tried to get me to take it with him. But I was looking for an easier path to theological languages and chose German instead.
Boy, was that a mistake. I’ve since learned that Latin would have been easier in the long run and would have helped me to learn other Romance languages like Italian, French, Spanish, and Portuguese.
I’ve been teaching myself Latin over the years since and loving every minute of it.
But that first phrase in Latin that I learned has stuck with me through the years – Gloria in excelis Deo.
Actually, I’ve learned that this Latin phrase is not the Latin of the Bible translation known as the Vulgate. St. Jerome used the more common Latin word for highest, altissimis, instead of excelis.
But this Latin phrase is the one used in the Christmas hymn beloved by millions – Angels We Have Heard on High.
It is an incredible hymn of praise by the angels who have seen the almighty power of God first hand. And so they sing in response to the angel of the Lord’s message to the shepherds about the birth of Jesus Christ.
All glory is given to God for doing what he did in Jesus Christ!
Born a human being to be mankind’s substitute in keeping the Law of God perfectly, Jesus brings peace to the world.
A world, by the way, that has desperately been searching and striving for peace ever since the Fall of Adam and Eve.
And while it sounds like this peace is selective – “and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” – it is actually universal peace because God is pleased to save all people! Jesus said that God sent him to save the entire world (John 3:16).
It is true that not all receive Christ and, thus, do not attain the peace longed for in this world.
But this peace is offered to all people. That is what Christmas is really all about.
Jesus Christ was born to be Lord and King to shepherd and Wise Men, rich and poor alike.
This song of the angels – Gloria in excelsis Deo – is an excellent reminder that what we celebrate this Christmas Eve is the powerful love of Almighty God.
©2016 True Men Ministries