One of my favorite songs to sing this time of year is “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”(full text in link). Though I didn’t particularly enjoy this hymn as a child, over the years I have come to appreciate it more than any Christmas song I know, and I love the lyrics for they are rich with meaning, and spin a beautiful picture of what Christmas and really all of life is about. While I am not gifted with the art of painting pictures with my words, the gentleman who wrote this hymn certainly was. What incredible poetry is contained in this song. My favorite verse is the 3rd, I think traditionally. Here are the words:
“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!”
These are words that all creation can relate to. And they often bring tears to my eyes when I hear them sung. I love the reality of the sense of toil and burden that we often feel in this life and the reminder of God’s love song above our “babel”. And then the hope that is sung in the later part of the verse about “glad and golden hours”. The admonition to rest and remember the angels’ words is a great reminder to us all this Christmas Season. As they sang,
“Peace on the earth, good will to men,
From Heaven’s all gracious King.”
Whatever your toil this season (and we all have our own!), may the truth of these words ring anew in your hearts and among your family and loved ones. May we all recall the message of Christmas that was sung in Bethlehem so long ago. Merry Christmas to you all.