Angels From the Realms of Glory, the Song and the Story

Composer James Montgomery Writes Angels from the Realms of Glory

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James Montgomery (1771-1854) was just six years old when heard of the death of both his parents who had been in Barbados on a missionary trip. He spent the remainder of his childhood being raised within the school system in Ireland, where he did not excel academically. As a teenager, James was placed in an apprenticeship position to a Baker. He grew frustrated with that position and so ran away to Sheffield, England. There he took on various jobs to support himself, while trying to find his niche.

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In his early 20s, James was hired to work for a politically active newspaper, the Sheffield Register. James found that he loved to write, and that he was good at it. When the owner of the paper had to flee the country in order to avoid imprisonment, James purchased the newspaper, after which he himself was imprisoned twice for political articles that did not sit well with the governing authorities.

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Throughout all his ups and downs, James remained a devout Christian. He remembered well the lessons taught to him by his missionary parents. He chose to follow in their footsteps and to champion the cause of Christ. His newspaper was his pulpit to speak out against social and moral injustice. And in that same paper he published his original hymns of praise. Angels From the Realms of Glory appeared in print on Christmas Eve, 1816.

Angels From the Realms of Glory

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:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Shepherds, in the fields abiding,
Watching o'er your flocks by night,
God with man is now residing,
Yonder shines the infant Light;
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Sages, leave your contemplations,
Brighter visions beam afar;
Seek the great desire of nations,
Ye have seen His natal star;
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

Saints before the altar bending,
Watching long in hope and fear,
Suddenly the Lord, descending,
In His temple shall appear:
Come and worship,
Come and worship,
Worship Christ, the newborn King!

During a special Christmas service, you may wish to use your church bulletin to print the lyrics to the Christmas carols. View this collection of Christmas Bulletins.

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Written by: Connie Ruth Christiansen