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When we sing the songs telling the Christmas story, we usually include the same central characters: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, the shepherds, and the angels. And while they also appear in “Angels We Have Heard On High,” this song is written from a unique perspective—that of curious observers, passersby who’ve overheard angels singing and are wondering why they’re so excited. It appears from the song that the listeners have gone to the place they heard the chorus of angels and have found shepherds there, delighted by the angels’ news—but the angels are already gone. “Why so happy?” the observers ask the shepherds. What happened? Or, in their words: Shepherds, why this jubilee?

So… they’re a little late to the party. They showed up just after the big announcement when something great has been proclaimed. Apparently, they’re asking the question: What’d we miss?

And the shepherds responded. You may have missed the big reveal, but you didn’t miss the more important thing: You can still experience what this great news is all about. It’s not too late. Come with us. We’ll show you. They say, Come to Bethlehem and see him, whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee, Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

They maybe missed out on a little of the fanfare, but in no way did they miss out on the main thing—Jesus. And maybe you can relate. Maybe you feel late to the party.

Maybe, for whatever reason, you feel it’s too late to really start a relationship with God… or it’s too late to make God a priority or to be serious about your faith.

But wherever you are—whatever that next step is for you—it’s never too late to take it.


Heavenly Father, give me the strength and courage to take whatever steps I need to take toward you.

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Shepherd, why this jubilee? — Come to Bethlehem and see Him Whose birth the angels sing; Come, adore on bended knee Christ the Lord, the newborn King