81

Angels, from the Realms of Glory

Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

Perhaps because he knew the psalms so well, Montgomery expresses a cosmic sense in this text: he reaches from Christ's incarnation to the final great day. The text successively incorporates all creatures–the angels (st. 1), the shepherds (st. 2), the wise men (st. 3), all nations ( t. 4), and all people (st. 5)–in the call to “come and worship Christ, the newborn King!”
The text was originally in five stanzas, although many hymnals now delete the fifth stanza. Stanzas 1-3 are from Montgomery's text, which was inspired by the Christmas stories in Luke 2 and Matthew 2. Stanza 4 comes from another Montgomery carol inspired by Philippians 2. Stanza 5 is a doxology (not written by Montgomery) from the Salisbury Hymn Book (1857).

Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Further Reflections on Confessions and Statements of Faith References

Long before his birth, Jesus was promised, and thus he became “the great desire of nations” (stanza 3). When he came, he did as foretold by “gathering all nations to him” (stanza 4).
 
Our World Belongs to God, paragraph 21 leads us to profess that the Lord promised to be God to Abraham and Sarah and their children, “blessing the nations through them” and shaping them to be a people who will be “a light to the nations.” In these words we catch a glimpse of what Heidelberg Catechism teaches in Lord’s Day 21, Question and Answer 54, that Christ “through his Spirit and Word” will gather a church “from the entire human race.”
 
This Christmas hymn concludes with a Trinitarian doxology, a reflection of the perspective found in Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 12, Question and Answer 31 that all three persons of the Trinity are involved in the birth of the newborn King. Christ is ordained by God the Father and anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Call to Worship

All who come from near and far, come and worship.
All who thirst for God, come and worship.
All whose hearts overflow with gratitude and hope, come and worship.
All whose hearts may be filled with despair or grief, come and worship.
All who come with doubts or questions about life in Jesus, come and worship.
[Add other phrases as appropriate].
Through the grace of God’s Holy Spirit,
come, worship Christ, the newborn King.

All God’s people—
Boys and girls, women, men:
Come and worship!
Shepherds, Magi, saints, and angels:
Come and worship! Come and worship!
All who need the Savior, all who long for comfort:
Come and worship, come and worship Christ, the newborn King!
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Words of Praise

A text especially mindful of children
Jesus is our Savior! He gave his life to rescue us.
Jesus is our Shepherd! He leads our lives and keeps us safe.
Jesus is our Friend! He listens to us; he shares our joys and our sadness.
Jesus is our Prophet! He speaks God’s promises to us;
he declares God’s commands.
Jesus is our Priest! He pleads our cause daily.
Jesus is our King! He guards and keeps us in the freedom he won for us.
Jesus is our Lord! He protects us—in life and in death we belong to him.
Jesus is our Life! He conquered death for us.
Risen with him, we enjoy new life.
Jesus is our Way! He guides us to his kingdom.
Jesus is our End! Soon we will be with him,
and we will worship him forever and ever.
As we celebrate Christmas, the birthday of Jesus,
we rejoice that Jesus came to save us,
and we look forward to the day
when we will join all who love him
and crown him Lord of all.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Assurance

We confess that God fulfilled the promise
made to the early fathers and mothers
by the mouth of the holy prophets
when he sent the only and eternal Son of God
into the world at the time appointed.
The Son took the “form of a slave”
and was made in “human form,”
truly assuming a real human nature,
with all its weaknesses, except for sin;
being conceived in the womb of the blessed virgin Mary
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
without male participation.
And Christ not only assumed human nature
as far as the body is concerned
but also a real human soul,
in order to be a real human being.
For since the soul had been lost as well as the body,
Christ had to assume them both to save them both together.
In this way Christ is truly our Immanuel—
that is: “God with us.”
—from Belgic Confession, Art. 18
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Tune Information

Name
REGENT SQUARE
Key
B♭ Major
Meter
8.7.8.7 refrain 4.4.6

Recordings

Hymn Story/Background

A writer of many Christian hymns, James Montgomery composed this Christmas and Epiphany text and published it on Christmas Eve, 1816, in the Sheffield Iris, a newspaper he edited. Montgomery based the text in part on the French carol "Angels We Have Heard on High"; it was sung to that tune for over fifty years. Entitling it "Good Tidings of Great Joy to All People," Montgomery republished the text with small alterations in his Christian Psalmist (1825).
 
Perhaps because he knew the psalms so well, Montgomery expresses a cosmic sense in this text: he reaches from Christ's incarnation to the final great day. The text successively incorporates all creatures–the angels (st. 1), the shepherds (st. 2), the wise men (st. 3), all nations (st. 4), and all people (st. 5)–in the call to “come and worship Christ, the newborn King!”
 
The text was originally in five stanzas, although many hymnals now delete the fifth stanza. However, Lift Up Your Hearts includes all five stanzas. Stanzas 1-3 are from Montgomery's text, which was inspired by the Christmas stories in Luke 2 and Matthew 2. Stanza 4 comes from another Montgomery carol inspired by Philippians 2. Stanza 5 is a doxology (not written by Montgomery) from the Salisbury Hymn Book (1857).
 
Henry T. Smart composed REGENT SQUARE for the Horatius Bonar doxology "Glory be to God the Father." The tune was first published in the English Presbyterian Church's Psalms and Hymns for Divine Worship (1867), of which Smart was music editor. Because the text editor of that hymnal, James Hamilton, was minister of the Regent Square Church, the "Presbyterian cathedral" of London, the tune was given this title.
 
REGENT SQUARE is a splendid tune with lots of lift and some repeated phrases. For variety, try having small groups sing stanzas 1-3, with all on the refrains; stanza 4 sung by all in harmony; and stanza 5 in unison, perhaps with an alternative accompaniment.
— Bert Polman

Author Information

James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missions and the British Bible Society. He published eleven volumes of poetry, mainly his own, and at least four hundred hymns. Some critics judge his hymn texts to be equal in quality to those of Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley . Many were published in Thomas Cotterill's Selection of Psalms and Hymns (1819 edition) and in Montgomery's own Songs of Zion (1822), Christian Psalmist (1825), and Original Hymns (1853).
— Bert Polman

Composer Information

The tune, REGENT SQUARE was composed by Henry Smart (b. Marylebone, London, England, 1813; d. Hampstead, London, 1879), a capable composer of church music who wrote some very fine hymn tunes (REGENT SQUARE, 354, is the best-known).
 
Smart gave up a career in the legal profession for one in music. Although largely self taught, he became proficient in organ playing and composition, and he was a music teacher and critic. Organist in a number of London churches, including St. Luke's, Old Street (1844-1864), and St. Pancras (1864-1869), Smart was famous for his extemporiza­tions and for his accompaniment of congregational singing. He became completely blind at the age of fifty-two, but his remarkable memory enabled him to continue playing the organ. Fascinated by organs as a youth, Smart designed organs for impor­tant places such as St. Andrew Hall in Glasgow and the Town Hall in Leeds. He composed an opera, oratorios, part-songs, some instrumental music, and many hymn tunes, as well as a large number of works for organ and choir. He edited the Choralebook (1858), the English Presbyterian Psalms and Hymns for Divine Worship (1867), and the Scottish Presbyterian Hymnal (1875). Some of his hymn tunes were first published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861).
— Bert Polman
General Settings
Stanza Selection
Voice Selection
Text size:
Music size:
Transpose (Half Steps):
Capo:
Contacting server...
Contacting server...

This is a preview of your FlexScore.