The Highest Place

From Pursuing the Christ by Jennifer Kennedy Dean

Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly
host with the angel, praising God and saying:
Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace
on earth to people He favors!
—Luke 2:13–14

What a concert You arranged for a few unnamed shepherds!
I think of the most beautiful voices on earth singing
the grandest piece of music ever composed. The
sound of the perfectly pitched and supremely resonant
voices creates awe and elicits from the audience strong
emotions, tears, and applause. Even when the concert is
over, the music finished, the listeners’ emotions remain
stirred. So I cannot even imagine how heaven’s voices
proclaiming the eternal song must have sounded.
No one on earth has ever heard such a thing, except
those shepherds “keeping watch over their flock by
night” (Luke 2:8 NKJV).

What are the lyrics in the angels’ song of salvation?
A proclamation of peace! Peace that had never been available
on earth was, in the presence of the shepherds, offered
freely from heaven. This peace was something brand-new,
never heard of before, never experienced in history—peace
that only heaven knew, now offered to people on earth.
Heaven came to earth in the form of a baby. With
Your birth, heaven’s rich storehouse of peace was opened
and offered to earth’s inhabitants.

It took a chorus of angels, with voices sweeter than any ever heard before
on earth, to make such an announcement: in the highest
heaven, glory to God; on earth, peace to its people.
I imagine the scene when those honored shepherds
found You, lying in a manger inside a stable. It was a
place familiar to them—the place where little lambs
were born, a place with smells and sounds they knew, a
place where they felt at home, perhaps. And there, they
encountered the Lamb of God.

They must have been ecstatic as they told the story
to Mary and Joseph. They were not men of lofty words.
How could they express the wonder that the angels
had told them about a newborn baby, and it sounded
like singing to their ears? How could they convey their
amazement that the King had been born in a place where
they felt at home and welcomed?

Who would believe them if they told the story of
how they, lowly shepherds, had been the first to hear the
rhythms of redemption?

If You chose the lowliest of men to hear the
announcement of heaven’s proudest moment, then make
me lowly. I choose not to seek the praise of people,
but rather to crave the lowliest place, from which
I can hear You clearly. To bow at Your feet is my
highest aspiration. Here is where I can hear the song of
the ages: glory to God and peace to people on earth.

About Jennifer Kennedy Dean

Author and speaker
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