Listen to “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”
Hymns are interesting, you can sing just a verse or two, but if you do, a deeper meaning is lost. You see, almost all hymns tell a story, each verse building on the others. The story is rarely complete till the last verse, so if you stop in the middle, you might feel sad or like something is missing. Which of course, something is…the resolution of the song comes in the final verse.
I went looking for the lyrics of this song to refresh my memory and the first set that came up in my google search left off the final verse. As I read through I thought, oh…I like the words, but something seems off. So, I went back to my search and found the complete verses. Ah, that’s better. Verse three ends with “O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing”. Nice, but not enough. I need more hope, more assurance than rest by the weary road, although I need that too. What I need this Advent season is hope of a final completion of redemption, not just the start of it. And, lo and behold the song does not disappoint.
Some day peace will again be over all the earth and we will sing back the song the angels sang. We will arrive at the second Advent when final peace covers the earth and we too sing with the angels the glory of our Lord!
Here’s to the hope beginning in Advent and the promise of singing with the angels someday!
Activity with Kids:
Talk about Jesus’ birth being the start of a new work of God in the New Testament. Ask the kids what the final work is…end of the story. Remind them that Jesus will come back again and take us to live with Him forever and we will live in perfect peace.
1 It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold: "Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven's all-gracious King." The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing.
2 Still through the cloven skies they come with peaceful wings unfurled, and still their heavenly music floats o'er all the weary world; above its sad and lowly plains, they bend on hovering wing, and ever o'er its Babel sounds the blessed angels sing.
3 And ye, beneath life's crushing load, whose forms are bending low, who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow, look now! for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing. O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing!
4 For lo! the days are hastening on, by prophet seen of old, when with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold when peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling, and the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.