Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!…Another primitive version speaks from the shepherd’s vantage point, saying:
Shepherds in the field abiding
Tell us when the seraph bright
Greeted you with wondrous tiding
What you saw and heard that night.
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!Hymns are usually authored by human beings like us, but in this case obscure verses by unknown French poets were coupled with a refrain that was literally composed by angels in heaven: Gloria, in excelsis Deo. That’s the Latin wording for the angelic anthem, “Glory to God in the highest!” It comes from Luke 2:14 in the Vulgate, the Latin version of the bible. The Latin word Gloria means Glory, and in excelsis del is the phrase for in the highest. Our English words excel and excellent come from the same root, meaning to rise or to ascend or to be high. The Latin word Deo means God. This was the song proclaimed by the angels over Shepherds’ Field the night Christ was born. The musical score stretches out and emphasizes the words in a way that is uniquely fun to sing and deeply stirring, as we lift our voices to proclaim: Jesus has come! Hope has arrived on earth! A Savior is born! Glory to God on High! Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Excerpted from Then Sings My Soul: Book 2 ©2004 Robert J. Morgan (Thomas Nelson) Used by permission.