Angels from the Realms of Glory!

When the Moravian Christians of Europe launched Protestant missions, they did it at a cost. Many of them had to leave their children behind in boarding schools across England and the Continent.

And so it was that the Montgomery family reluctantly placed their six-year-old James in such an institution as they shipped off as foreign missionaries to the West Indies. When they later perished, James, left with nothing, spent his teenage years drifting from pillar to post, writing poetry, then trying his hand at one thing, then another.

In his early twenties he began working for a British newspaper, the Sheffield Iris, and there he found his niche. When his editorials proved unpopular with the local officials, he was thrown into jail and fined twenty pounds. But he emerged from prison a celebrity, and he used his newly acquired fame to promote his favorite issues.

Chief among them was the Gospel. Despite the loss of his parents and all his hardships, James Montgomery remained devoted to Christ and the scriptures.

As the years passed, he became the most respected leader in Sheffield, and his writings were eagerly read by its citizens. Early on Christmas Eve, 1816, James, forty-five, opened his Bible, and was deeply impressed by Luke 2:13. Pondering the story of the heralding angels, he took his pen and started writing. By the end of the day his new Christmas poem was being delivered to England in the pages of his newspaper. It was later set to music and was first sung on Christmas Day, 1821, in a Moravian church in England:

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.--Eleanor Doan

(Maria Fontaine) Despite circumstances ... you can rise above. God kept their son and honored their great sacrifice, and answered their prayers for him, even though it took a while. His parents were proud!--And the whole world was blessed!


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