O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem!
Come, and behold Him, born the King of angels!
Sing, choirs of angels; sing in exultation;
sing, all ye citizens of heav'n above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest!
Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory giv'n!
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing!
O come, let us adore Him;
O come, let us adore Him;
O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord!
The carol explicitly refers to angels twice—“Come and behold him / Born the King of angels” and “Sing, choir of angels”—and both cases are direct invitations to worship God.
We, as a fairly evangelical subculture, don’t normally incorporate thoughts about angels into our spiritual conversations or meditations. This is fine, for the most part, because we’re aiming to imitate the wisdom of Colossians 2.18 (“Let no one disqualify you, insisting of asceticism and worship of angels,” etc.). We try wisely and righteously to keep our focus on God himself—Father, Son, and Spirit.
But Hebrews 1 reveals that the the angelic realm has very much to do with the worship of God: the angels also are entirely consumed with the worship of the Triune God, though in this passage the focus is primarily on the Son. Through this, the Scriptures show us how everything in all creation is bowing towards its Creator, and this revelation leads us to imagine how “all things were created through Him and for Him,” and that “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1.16-17). When John contemplates the mystery of the Incarnation—the crown jewel of this Advent season—he proclaims that “all things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1.3).
Hebrews 1 explores the implications of this mystery not only for creation, but also for salvation. There is the created angle: “His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world” and “He upholds the universe by the word of His power” (1.2-3). But, interestingly enough, the direct reference to angels is included after the clause describing Jesus’ saving work (1.3-4: “After making purification for sins,” etc.). They are only mentioned to show that Jesus is God and they are not.
Jesus’ divinity compels the loving praise of humans and angels. How easy it is to forget that God’s audience is larger than us! It is the whole of His molded, crafted, spoken-into-existence universe (cf. Genesis 1). This is the beauty of God’s creational diversity. He has made creatures whom we barely notice, though they engage with us often (Hebrews 13.2: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”). Let us worship our God in a heavenly remembrance that His angels are gathering even greater glory to Him than we have realized.
The Hebrews preacher asks us an important (rhetorical) question: “Are [angels] they not ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (1.14). The Holy Spirit confirms that this is so when we see how the angel Gabriel is the mouthpiece of God to the humble Mary, the one who would, by God’s grace, bear the Advent Son (Luke 1.26-38).
With His angels, “O come, let us adore Him.”