8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
- What is your favorite Christmas carol?
- What holiday traditions do you or your family and friends have involving singing or music?
- Is singing at church something that comes easy for you? Is it something that is uncomfortable?
- Does music in general tend to be more of a head or a heart experience for you?
- Why do you think music has continued to be such a central part of church culture? Of holiday traditions?
- The shepherds began the story in Luke 2 with terror, but emerged with rejoicing and singing. Have you ever gone through a similar progression, even in a smaller way?
- Luke and Charles Wesley both put this story into their own words. In your own words, how do you tell the story and describe the “good news of great joy for all the people?”
- Take one of your favorite Christmas carols and spend a few minutes reading through the lyrics. What do you notice you hadn’t before? Are there any quotes or phrases from the Bible? Take some time to look up those passages and see how the song may be telling the story of Scripture.
- To see the lyrics of “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” with annotations for Scripture references in all five verses, visit this page.