Heaven and Earth Come Together

See, amid the winter’s snow,
Born for us on Earth below,
See, the tender Lamb appears,
Promised from eternal years.

Hail, thou ever blessed morn,
Hail redemption’s happy dawn,
Sing through all Jerusalem,
Christ is born in Bethlehem.

Lo, within a manger lies
He who built the starry skies;
He who, throned in height sublime,
Sits among the cherubim.

Say, ye holy shepherds, say,
What your joyful news today;
Wherefore have ye left your sheep
On the lonely mountain steep?

“As we watched at dead of night,
Lo, we saw a wondrous light:
Angels singing ‘Peace On Earth’
Told us of the Saviour’s birth.”

Sacred Infant, all divine,
What a tender love was Thine,
Thus to come from highest bliss
Down to such a world as this.

Teach, O teach us, Holy Child,
By Thy face so meek and mild,
Teach us to resemble Thee,
In Thy sweet humility.
Written by Edward Caswall with the music composed by John Goss.

This 19th Century English carol has unfortunately remained outside the typical American repertoire of Christmas Carols. The work is composed of six verses that functionally serve as a conversation between the angel who is come to proclaim the birth of the Savior and the shepherds to whom the angel appeared. Both angel and shepherd stand in awe of what has just happened: that the very Word by which the earth was created now dwells among us.

The early church father, St. Athanasius, suggests that because it was Christ as the Divine Word who was our creator (Colossians 1:15-23), it is He who must serve as our re-creator. It is this same Christ, the promise of mankind from all eternity, who was born for us on earth below. On that first night, what a blessing it is to catch a glimpse of the fulfillment of these promises. In the fellowship of shepherds and angels, sharing the joy of the Son of God made incarnate, we are given a brief picture of heaven, that eternal joy, the eternal proclamation of Christ as King. We are given the briefest glimpse of what it will mean for heaven and earth to come together in common purpose: an eternity dedicated to knowing the breadth of what it means to hail Christ as King.

When I hear this song, the chorus is the shared hymn of angels and shepherds, of saints and sinners. In Christ, the highest in heaven and the lowest on earth are given the boldness and joy to sing through all Jerusalem. Where beings as different as angels and humans can stand together in praise of Christ we are given encouragement. All races, all languages, all cultures will someday stand together praising Christ. On that first night we were assured of this as the perfection of an angel and the weakness of a shepherd shared this joy. Standing before Christ, angels and humanity say together “Teach, O teach us, holy Child, by thy face so meek and mild, teach us to resemble thee, in thy sweet humility.”

~Ben Gibson

One thought on “Heaven and Earth Come Together

  1. Pingback: Heaven and Earth Come Together | Christians Anonymous

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s