The shepherds heard the angels—and it scared them to death. That's one thing that angels do—they frighten people. The angel told Joseph, "Fear not." Gabriel said to Mary, "Fear not." And the angel told the shepherds, "Fear not." By definition angels are truly "out of this world." They come from another place, from another realm of reality, from another dimension. One moment the shepherds are minding their own business in the fields outside Bethlehem, the next moment an angel is talking to them. Then out of nowhere the sky is filled with a multitude of angels. The word multitude means just what it implies—an uncountable number, a vast array of bright, shining beings, filling the night sky, praising God (loudly, I'm sure), and saying "Glory to God in the highest!"
Perhaps the most telling word of our text comes in Luke 2:13: Suddenly! It means without warning, without prior announcement; it means that the angels weren't there, and then they were everywhere. Let me amend that last statement a bit. The word suddenly means that the angels were nowhere to be seen, and all at once they filled the sky. Some questions come to mind at this point. If we had been there, would we have seen the angels? Could the people in Bethlehem see the angels? Could they be seen in Jerusalem—eight miles away? Could the sound of their voices be heard in other places, or did the angels reveal themselves only to the shepherds? We cannot fully answer these questions, but this much is certain: The angels were really there, and the shepherds really did hear them.
Excerpted from "Can You Hear the Angels Singing? Christmas and the 'Other World'" by Keep Believing Ministries (used by permission).