On this day earth shall ring with the song children sing to the Lord, Christ our King, born on earth to save us; him the Father gave us. Ideo, Ideo, Ideo gloria in excelsis Deo!
Though the song makes early mention of the songs of children, it’s boisterous melody feels far grander than a simple young choir. The hymn is the retelling of the arrival of the Magi, which we will celebrate in four days on Epiphany.
Like the myrrh of the wise men, the verses also remind us that our great joy and mirth are gained through Christ’s own doom. It is salvation, victory over the grave – yes. But it is also that victory, that salvation lived here and now. We are not to focus on the end of life and forget to live.
Instead, we are to follow the wise men to offer the very best that we have to all those whom God loves. This has always especially included the poor, the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, the lost, the forgotten, the unwanted, the refugee, the unwelcome, the stranger – basically anyone that we would like to push out of our view. That is who we are called to love most.
Why would God draw such attention to these groups? Well, there are some of us who have more than others. Some of us have more money or possessions. Some have more security. Some have more opportunities. Some have never faced anyone telling them they can’t. Some have never felt the sting of being told they are unworthy. Though we may all stand as equals before our God, we certainly do not treat each other as such.
Which is why God has always drawn more attention to these groups. Christ drew more kindness and justice for those who needed it. And the Holy Spirit continues to make apparent those who are not equal in our eyes. God does this so that maybe, just maybe, we might overcome our fallen, human tendency to push the “other” out.
As we give glory to the Christ-child, God also wants us to give honor to all by working so that it is no longer just “some” who have what they need. We are to live into the love and the peace – not merely a lack of conflict, but the presence of justice – that Christ has given us. Then may we, too, join this song of Christmastide: On this day angels sing; with their song earth shall ring, praising Christ, heaven’s King, born on earth to save us; peace and love he gave us. Ideo, ideo, ideo, gloria in excelsis Deo!