No Obvious Angels

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Shirley Erena Murray
Tune Name: KINZELL

Lyrics as Poetry

No obvious angels
sing through the night skies,
no thunderstruck
shepherds tell out their surprise,for Christmas comes into
the here and the now
through star-sighted people,
the watchful and hopeful,
who wake us to see a new world.Our angel potential
is waiting to start!
The Spirit will teach us
the song of the heart,for Christmas comes into
the here and the now
through peace-maker people,
the just and the gentle,
the stars who will light the new world.Whoever will take it
is given the role:
the fruitful, the faithful,
the joyous of soul,for Christmas comes into
the here and the now
when we are the angels
who dream and deliver,
who rise and create this new world!


Words by
Shirley Erena MurrayCopyright © 2000 by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song

Comment by
SHIRLEY ERENA MURRAY
from her book
“Faith Makes the Song” (#28):


“[No Obvious Angels] is a reality check for each of us to become ‘the angels who dream and deliver…’ in the here and now. To be sung with joyful anticipation of the role!”


Faith Makes the Song
is published by:Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, IL USA


A Reflection by hymnwriter
WALTER FARQUHARSON

To fully appreciate this Christmas carol we need to go the ending – “… Christmas comes into the here and the now when we are the angels who dream and deliver, who rise and create this new world!

Christmas, of course, is about retelling the gospel story as it is recorded for us in the gospels written by Matthew and by Luke. Mark has no birth narrative to tell as he chooses to begin with John the Baptist’s preaching in the wilderness. John chooses to begin with a link to the creation story and the assertion that God’s Word (which was in the beginning) takes flesh in the life of Jesus and subsequently in the lives of believers. Shirley Erena Murray pulls these two strands together and places responsibility on us. We are the ones who must dream and deliver. We are the ones who have opportunity and power to create this new world.

Too often our Christmas representations stay somewhere in the past, in a dreamy, maybe world or, when they fast forward into the present, become sentimental ethereal dramas inappropriately wrapped in tinsel, comfort and prosperity.

This hymnwriter affirms that Christmas happens. It happens in the here and now. It happens , not because the skies become filled with angelic choirs singing against a backdrop of stars and planets, and not because thunderstruck shepherds get the message and leave their sheep to offer adoration at a humble manger. It happens because there are watchful and hopeful people who wake us to see a new world. There are people who can, and do, rise unbound from enfolding graveclothes of cynicism. There are people who say no to the slavery of systems of privilege and subjugation. There are people who affirm such systems have not earned our allegiance just because they are the patterns of the familiar and of the ‘normal’. There are people who can inspire imperfect people to move forward – creating justice, practicing compassion, seeing the humanity of those with whom they share life’s journey.

This hymn calls us to see and celebrate the stars who will light the world – the peace-making people, the just and the gentle. We’re urged to remember who these people are – within our families and circles of work and play, and those whose witness is noted on the larger stage of nations and alliances. We are blessed by those who see globally and who care with a compassion that is wide enough to embrace all as members of God’s family.

It may be an age when we see “no obvious angels” but when, in word and action, we are surrounded by the angels, the messengers, of God’s New Day. We celebrate ‘them’. Hallelujah!

Oh, and, as Shirley Erena Murray reminds us, “Whoever will take it is given the role: the fruitful, the faithful, the joyous of soul – for Christmas comes into the here and the now …

That’s you! That’s me!

Believe it, or not, we’re angels!


An Activity: So now that you have sung this wonderful Christmas song, ask someone this question, “Friend Angel, what is your song you are singing/living today?” Don’t let them off the hook. But don’t let yourself off the hook either!


Audio Sample for "No Obvious Angels"

One Verse
played on piano

Scripture References

  • Luke 2:8-18
  • John 1:1-5
  • John 1:14-18
  • John 13:34-35
  • John 14:12-14

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Angel, Angels
  • Christmas
  • Commitment, Dedication
  • Creation
  • Jesus∶ birth
  • Justice, Human Rights
  • Music, Song
  • Peace
  • Spirit

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