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Heralding the Birth of Christ

By Scott Paeplow

‘And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”’ (Lk 2:13-14)

Sometimes I think it is easy to slip into ‘Autopilot’ mode in liturgy- where we know our responses and participate, yet are burdened with outside things pressing into our minds. Luckily for us, however, changes in liturgical seasons can help to counter this temptation!

The proclamation of the Gloria is absent during the Advent season as the Church waits for the coming of the Lord at Christmas. And this is not simply because Advent is another ‘purple’ season in the Church, but rather because of the Scriptural heritage of this acclamation. As the quote from the Gospel of Luke above references, after the shepherds hear the announcement of the birth of Christ the heavens burst forth with what had to be an overwhelming musical encounter focused on praising and glorifying God.

May we recognize the absence of the Gloria acclamation as we move through the remainder of our Advent season and meet it once more on Christmas. May we sing it on that day with the same fervor and jubilation with which it was originally proclaimed as we recall the most profound expression of love the world has ever known through the birth of Jesus Christ.

—Scott Paeplow
Campus Minister for Liturgical and Pastoral Music

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