Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
Gloria, in Excelsis Deo
Gloria, in Excelsis Deo

This Christmas Carol was originally from France and was first published in North America in Quebec, Canada. It initially had eight stanzas and was a dialogue poem between the Bethlehem Shepherds and the women of the town who were astounded to see them abandon their flocks.

The shepherds’ joy is constantly expressed as they tell the women the good news of the Christ being born. Echoing their words, the angels in heaven sing the wonderful refrain, “Gloria in Excelsis.’

Nowadays, we tend to sing only three or four verses of the carol to the English lyrics which were translated from the French by James Chadwick in the 19th century.

Points to ponder

Why does Christmas make me feel joyful? How do I share that joy with others?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for the universal jubilation that Your birth caused, not only on Earth but in Heaven, too. Impart to us some of that special joy, so we may share it with our loved ones, friends, and neighbors. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is John’s latest Christmas drawing called ‘Mary’s Tear.’ If you would like to view a larger version, click here.

You can watch and listen to a delightfully animated version of this beautiful hymn sung by one of my favorite groups, ‘Sixpence None the Richer’, on YouTube: