1:1 Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. 3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?
“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?
6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
7 Of the angels he says,
“He makes his angels winds,
and his ministers a flame of fire.”
8 But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you
with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning,
and the heavens are the work of your hands;
11 they will perish, but you remain;
they will all wear out like a garment,
12 like a robe you will roll them up,
like a garment they will be changed.
But you are the same,
and your years will have no end.”
13 And to which of the angels has he ever said,
“Sit at my right hand
until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”?
14 Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version copyright (c)2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. http://www.esv.org
The carol explicitly refers to angels twice—“Come and behold him / Born the King of angels” and “Sing, choir of angels”—and both cases are direct invitations to worship God.
We, as a fairly evangelical subculture, don’t normally incorporate thoughts about angels into our spiritual conversations or meditations. This is fine, for the most part, because we’re aiming to imitate the wisdom of Colossians 2.18 (“Let no one disqualify you, insisting of asceticism and worship of angels,” etc.). We try wisely and righteously to keep our focus on God himself—Father, Son, and Spirit.
But Hebrews 1 reveals that the the angelic realm has very much to do with the worship of God: the angels also are entirely consumed with the worship of the Triune God, though in this passage the focus is primarily on the Son. Through this, the Scriptures show us how everything in all creation is bowing towards its Creator, and this revelation leads us to imagine how “all things were created through Him and for Him,” and that “He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1.16-17). When John contemplates the mystery of the Incarnation—the crown jewel of this Advent season—he proclaims that “all things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1.3).
Hebrews 1 explores the implications of this mystery not only for creation, but also for salvation. There is the created angle: “His Son, whom He appointed the heir of all things, through whom also He created the world” and “He upholds the universe by the word of His power” (1.2-3). But, interestingly enough, the direct reference to angels is included after the clause describing Jesus’ saving work (1.3-4: “After making purification for sins,” etc.). They are only mentioned to show that Jesus is God and they are not.
Jesus’ divinity compels the loving praise of humans and angels. How easy it is to forget that God’s audience is larger than us! It is the whole of His molded, crafted, spoken-into-existence universe (cf. Genesis 1). This is the beauty of God’s creational diversity. He has made creatures whom we barely notice, though they engage with us often (Hebrews 13.2: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares”). Let us worship our God in a heavenly remembrance that His angels are gathering even greater glory to Him than we have realized.
The Hebrews preacher asks us an important (rhetorical) question: “Are [angels] they not ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation?” (1.14). The Holy Spirit confirms that this is so when we see how the angel Gabriel is the mouthpiece of God to the humble Mary, the one who would, by God’s grace, bear the Advent Son (Luke 1.26-38).
With His angels, “O come, let us adore Him.”