“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
Chants de Noël (Christmas Carols) from France may be found in most English-language hymnals. One of the most recognizable and sung French carol is “Angels We Have Heard On High.” This canticle (hymn or chant) is taken from Luke 2:14.
The entire hymn is a traditional French carol that originated as early as the eighteenth century and was published in North America in Nouveau Recueil de c=Cantiques (New Hymnal) for the Diocese of Quebec in 1819. Several versions, or translations, of the text can be found, but they all stem from the same source and are inspired by Luke 2:6-20.
“Angels We Have Heard on High” is a song of invitation from Christians to others to come celebrate Christ’s birth with them. The carol begins in a festive spirit, but then, in the second stanza, asks why there is a celebration. In the third stanza, an invitation is given to join the celebration. The fourth stanza concludes the carol with the observation of Christ’s birth and the Christian’s joyful response.
The Christmas season is a fantastic opportunity to invite family and friends who do not have a church home to your church. The Christmas spirit already has people doing things they wouldn’t normally do. Research shows most people would come to church if someone they knew just asked, and people are more receptive to going to church at Christmas than other times of year.
By nature, people are curious. Curiosity is what led the shepherds to meet Jesus, and curiosity could be what leads the people you invite to meet Jesus as well.
Those around us are in desperate need of good news and great joy. Every day people are faced with staggering circumstances, and Christmastime is no exception. Marriages end, loved ones pass away, devastating test results come back. For many, the future seems bleak, and hearts are broken. Often, people who are hurting feel like church isn’t for them. Yet on the first Christmas, those who were frightened and in desperate need of good news and great joy were addressed directly.
Whether someone comes to church out of curiosity, a willingness to try something new, or desperation for a Savior, it could be your invitation that leads someone to meet Jesus! At the very least, you’ll provide that person with a much-needed break from all the small talk and Christmas movies. So go ahead…address someone directly with good news of great joy and invite someone to church.