I never studied the words of Angels We have Heard on High close enough before. I always thought the wonderful, flowing, melodious Latin phrase was a direct quote of the Angels singing. Actually, it’s a quote of the shepherds quoting the angels. The angels aren’t the ones singing in “Angels We Have Heard on High.” It’s the shepherds who are replicating the music of the angels.
This is a vital distinction. It’s vital because it reminds us that the important work of spreading the news is not the job of the angels, but of PEOPLE! God sent His angelic messengers to announce the birth of Jesus, but from there they disappeared and the work of spreading the message was carried out by the shepherds. People talking to people is God’s evangelism method.
We see this in the conversation in the hymn. It is a conversation that takes place between the shepherds and the people they shared the news with. Verse one is the shepherds telling their friends what they saw. Verse two is the friends asking questions. Verse three is the shepherds saying, “Come and see.”
When I consider evangelism today I often think that God should just send more angels and people will respond. That’s not God’s plan though is it? Angels We Have Heard on High tells me that we don’t need more angels, we need more shepherds! We need more people who will talk with people about what they have seen and heard. Don’t sing like the angels, sing like the SHEPHERDS! Who are you going to tell this year?