Angels We Have Heard on High

French legend indicates that in medieval times on Christmas Eve, the shepherds would sing and call to one another from one hillside to another.  “They would call “Gloria in excelsis Deo” which means “glory to God in the highest” in Latin. It was how they would spread their holiday message and cheer from points far away to one another. Angels We Have Heard on High is of French origin and originally titled “Les anges dans nos campagnes“.  The original author of the song is unknown, but believed to be from Languedoc, France. In 1862, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Hexham and Newcastle, northeast England, James Chadwick translated the song into English. The English version was published that years in the Crown of Jesus Music1.

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,
Gloria in excelsis Deo.

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heav’nly song?


Come to Bethlehem and see
Him whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.


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