It’s a simply beautiful image: the shepherds in a great field, staring up in wonder at a sky full of the heavenly hosts, singing out their praise and joy, the echoes of their song of reverberating off the mountains to add to the cacophony. It isn’t hard to imagine the shepherds’ response. This group of young boys must have looked at each other wide-eyed, then whooped and cheered and run as fast as they could into the village, a stampede of sheep following them. Giddy with excitement and out of breath, did they burst into the stable and crowd around the manger? Or did they stop at the stable door, suddenly shy and overwhelmed, and peek in at the couple holding a tiny baby? Did they fully understand what they were witnessing? Do we even fully understand what they were witnessing? This hymn invites us to “Come to Bethlehem and see.” Today, we go to Bethlehem. We peak through the stable doors, and we kneel in amazement before the Christ child, our ears still ringing from the angels’ song. More so than the shepherds, we are able to see who this child is, because we know the Gospel story. We know that the angels would come again, this time to announce that Christ was not where the women looked for Him, but that He had risen. It isn’t hard to imagine that a “Gloria” would have been on those angels’ lips as well.
View worship notes, composer biographies, historical information and more about this featured hymn at www.hymnary.org.