A Carol for Little Christmas

It is the 25th of the month, wherein Little Christmas is celebrated by Roman Catholics around the world. A beautiful Christmas carol, written in 1862, Angels We Have Heard on High, has already provided a fresh start to the day in one small town west of the Atlantic, and south of the North Pole:


The lyrics refer to the birth of Jesus Christ as recounted in the Gospel of Luke; specifically, when the shepherds visit the newborn Christ:

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

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

See Him in a manger laid,
Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
With us sing our Saviour’s birth.
Gloria source

What a moment that must have been, and the song brings the moment to life.

G.K.Chesterton noted that Christmas carols bring the events of Christmas to life; they detail what makes Christmas exciting. He said:

“It is in the old Christmas carols, the carols which date from the Middle Ages, that we find not only what makes Christmas poetic and soothing and stately, but first and foremost what makes Christmas exciting. The exciting quality of Christmas rests, as do all the other examples I have mentioned, on an ancient and admitted paradox. It rests upon the great paradox that the power and centre of the whole universe may be found in some seemingly small matter that the stars in their courses may move like a moving wheel round the neglected outhouse of an inn. And it is extraordinary to notice how completely this feeling of the paradox of the manger was lost by the brilliant and ingenious theologians, and how completely it was kept in the Christmas carols. They, at least, never forgot that the main business of the story they had to tell was that the absolute once ruled the universe from a cattle stall.”  G.K. Chesterton


May you have a merry Little Christmas!