This carol is close to my heart being French in origin. French legend says that in medieval times on Christmas Eve, shepherds would sing and call to one another from one hillside to another, “Gloria in excelsis Deo,” meaning “Glory to God in the highest.” The lyrics of this carol say the angels sing and the mountains reply, “echoing their joyous strain.”
There is reason for the heavens to shout, for the earth to rejoice and for the mountains to burst into song. The verse for today gives the reason; the comfort and the compassion the Lord gives to His hurting people. With His coming to earth that first Christmas, He proved His compassion for us, ushering in His salvation with the birth of His Son. “Comfort Ye My People” from Handel’s Messiah expresses this truth from Isaiah 40:1-3.
He can comfort us because He has experienced every human emotion and struggle. Christ’s humble birth, the horrible treatment He suffered from enemies and His betrayal by those closet to Him means He can empathize with our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15). He is not unmoved by our pain. He hears us in the night when we smother our tears. He sees when the heart is hurting and we want to give up. He offers His comfort and compassion and it is unlike any other.
What a wonderful reason for angels and mountains to burst into song! May today be a day when I can shout, rejoice and sing, “Glory to God in the Highest” because He cares for me!