Angels From the Realms of Glory – The Christmas Carol Written By The Political Extremist

James Montgomery was born in Scotland to Irish Moravian missionaries in 1771. While his parents went to the West Indies to do evangelistic work, James was sent to live in a Moravian community in Ireland. At the age of seven, he was enrolled at Fulneck Seminary, a Moravian boarding school in Yorkshire, England. Inspired by the hymns he heard, James began writing poetry at the age of ten. 

Writing poems and stories was basically all James Montgomery enjoyed during his time in school. Nothing else interested him. A few years later, the parents James hardly knew died on the mission field. James flunked out of seminary, became a baker’s assistant for a brief time, and then wandered from place to place. By the time he was twenty, he was basically homeless, sometimes working, often not, living wherever he could and with whomever he could. Fortunately, an editor at The Sheffield Register noticed James’ writing ability and gave him a job.

James later became editor of the paper when the previous editor had to flee the country because of his fear of political persecution. He changed the name of the paper to the Sheffield Iris and served as its editor for 31 years. When James wasn’t serving as editor of the paper, he was reading his Bible in an attempt to understand why his parents felt led to move around the world to serve God. 

Even though most of his editorials were political in nature, he published a different type of article on December 24, 1816. Readers opened their paper and read the following words:

Angels from the realms of glory, Wing your flight o’er all the earth;

Ye who sang creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth.

Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ the newborn King.

Shepherds in the fields abiding, Watching o’er your flocks by night,

God with man is now residing, Yonder shines the infant light.

Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ the newborn King.

Sages, leave your contemplations, Brighter visions beam afar;

Seek the great Desire of nations, Ye have seen His natal star.

Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ the newborn King. 

Saints before the altar bending, Watching long in hope and fear.

Suddenly the Lord, descending, In his temple shall appear.

Come and worship, come and worship, Worship Christ the newborn King.

James Montgomery eventually returned to the Moravian Church and became an avid writer of carols and hymns. In fact, he continued to publish hymns until his death in 1854.

Click here to hear Angels From the Realms of Glory by Reawaken.

*Image courtesy of Luke Stackpoole and Unsplash.**This post and others like it can be found at www.johnjfrady.com

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