“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Just after the angel’s birth announcement to shepherds in a Bethlehem field at night, “suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace. . . .’”
The song “Ere Zij God/Glory to God” celebrates this stunning announcement. For many churches with a Dutch-heritage background, this hymn has become a favorite to sing on Christmas Day.
The angels of heaven burst into spontaneous praise, giving “glory to God” and announcing peace on earth. During the time of Jesus’ birth, the Roman Empire offered the pax Romana (“Peace of Rome”). They offered peace to all the citizens within its borders. But that was not the kind of peace the angels sang about on that glorious night. They were singing of the true and lasting peace that comes because of the birth of Jesus, the Savior. The peace that this baby came to offer was not dependent on any government but is the true peace of God for all who come to believe in him.
Later in Jesus’ life, as he prepared to lay down his life for us all, he said to his followers, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you” (John 14:27). With the peace of God in our minds and hearts, we know that Jesus restores our relationship with the Father.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Together with the angels, we sing your praise, O God. Amen.