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In Excelsis Deo

In Excelsis Deo

Here we go with a “X” post 
for the Advent A to Z Challenge.
(I bet you thought 
I’d go with X-mas, 
but I won’t!)

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, the skies opened with an angelic chorus, singing “Glory to God in the highest. And on earth, peace and goodwill to men.”

Gloria! In excelsis Deo! Glory to God!

I have often wondered how it might have felt for the angels to announce the Advent of the Answer to the world’s need.

Did the heavenly hosts already know that Jesus would grow into a man and suffer a ghastly death and disgrace to pay for the world’s sin? Could they have understand even then that the Messiah would miraculously triumph over death? Were they already clued in to God’s redemptive plan?

Or were the angels simply singing in joy and adoration that the Son of the Most High had come to earth as a child, born to a virgin hand-picked by Jehovah God?

I’m no angel, but I have loved singing in choirs.

When we were kids, my siblings and I took our turns in the youth choir at our church. I loved donning the bright red robes and shiny clean white v-collars, lining up with my peers and filing into the front pews of the ornate old church.

Waiting for our turn to stand and sing our painstakingly rehearsed anthems, we would count nooks and niches in the fancy wooden railings and stare in awe and the colorful stained glass windows. We would wriggle and try not to giggle in the well-worn wooden pews.

Finally, our super-serious choral director would stand and raise his baton.

We were anything but angelic.

Every Christmas Eve, the youth choir would sing the same song.

Now, decades later, my siblings and I can evoke memories of these musical moments by simply humming a few bars of this long-lost sacred Christmas carol, based on a Latin traditional hymn.

Do you remember this one?

On This Day Earth Shall Ring
(Trans. Personent Hodie)
Music: Piae Cantiones – Gustav Holst

On this day earth shall ring
with the song children sing
to the Lord, Christ our King,
born on earth to save us;
him the Father gave us.

Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o,
gloria in excelsis Deo!

His the doom, ours the mirth;
when he came down to earth,
Bethlehem saw his birth;
ox and ass beside him
from the cold would hide him.

Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o,
gloria in excelsis Deo!

God's bright star, o'er his head,
Wise Men three to him led;
kneel they low by his bed,
lay their gifts before him,
praise him and adore him.

Id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o-o-o, id-e-o,
gloria in excelsis Deo!

On this day angels sing;
with their song earth shall ring,
praising Christ, heaven's King,
born on earth to save us;
peace and love he gave us.


Gloria! In excelsis Deo! Glory to God!

And Merry Christmas.

Children’s Choir – ClipArt Mountain
Musical Score for “Personent Hodie”– Creative Commons Licensing

1 comment:

  1. Never heard this song before, but the pew memories, I can relate to well.

    I was wondering about your Z plan. Can I challenge you to do it without delving into the 'zoo' family of words?