Great Carols: Angels from the Realms of Glory

Angels from the Realms of Glory was written by our old friend James Montgomery, the Scotsman whose statue keeps watch over Sheffield Cathedral. A prolific hymn writer, his Angels from the Realms lacks none of the other hymns’ theology and thoughtful construction. He in turn invites angels, shepherds, magi , Old Testament saints, the nations and then the whole of creation to recognise and worship the One whose birth is here commemorated. Each verse drips with scriptural imagery, for Christ is the ready fulfilment of every promise given and prophecy uttered. 

Angels, from the realms of glory,

Wing your flight o'er all the earth;

Ye who sang creation's story,

Now proclaim Messiah's birth:


Refrain: Come and worship, come and worship

Worship Christ, the new-born King.


Shepherds, in the fields abiding,

Watching o'er your flocks by night,

God with man is now residing,

Yonder shines the infant light:


Sages, leave your contemplations,

Brighter visions beam afar;

Seek the great Desire of nations,

Ye have seen his natal star:


Saints before the altar bending,

Watching long in hope and fear,

Suddenly the Lord, descending,

In his temple shall appear.


Sinners, wrung with true repentance,

Doomed for guilt to endless pains,

Justice now revokes the sentence,

Mercy calls you—break your chains:


Though an infant now we view him,

He shall fill his Father's throne,

Gather all the nations to him;

Every knee shall then bow down:


All creation, join in praising

God the Father, Spirit, Son,

Evermore your voices raising,

To th'eternal Three in One: 

Sadly, many modern hymnals omit some of the best verses, such as 5 and 6. The former delights in the birth’s effect on our eternal destinies- the pains of hell and the sentence of destruction are annulled for all who repent and believe. The latter considers the irony of this tiny baby being one day proclaimed Emperor of the entire universe, every tongue from which shall acknowledge His lordship, and before whom every knee shall bow, including all those who refuse this carol’s cheerful summons.