Up until this point in the narrative, the angels served as messengers. But their primary job, their purpose, their very existence is worshipping the triune God in heaven (Is. 6, Rev. 4 & 5). Now the object of their worship is wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. If that was me, I think I might be a little depressed about that. Did they miss Him? Was the throne empty for 33 years? Could they know His future fate? The trials, beatings, betrayals, humiliations, and bloody death that would be part of His earthly journey?
And yet, Scripture tells us that the heavenly host praised God, saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Praise to Him in the highest heaven…
and on earth, peace…
He in heaven, now He on earth. The angels are rejoicing over the reconciliation between God and His eternally beloved creation, His people. Miraculously brought together in the incarnation, the veil between heaven and earth is suddenly and briefly opened. The humble band of bedouins are given a glimpse of heaven. And they responded as we all should. They hurried to see the One that the Lord had told them about (Lk 2:15-16).
If the angels can rejoice for us and the salvation made available to us, how much more should we?
Like the lowly shepherds, won’t you hurry to be in His company?
"Rejoice in the Lord always.
I will say it again: Rejoice!
The Lord is near.
Do not be anxious ...
but by prayer and ... thanksgiving,
present your requests to God.
And the peace of God,
which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds
in Christ Jesus."
Phil 4:4-7 NIV