Tuesday, January 1, 2008

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

The Christmas following my grandson's stillbirth was a difficult one -- I could not concentrate during sermons, Sunday school lessons, department meetings, or any group gathering. Everyone sounded like the teacher in Charlie Brown cartoons: "Wah, wah, wah, wah, wah." But music cut through the cloud that enveloped me, and in that, I came to regard "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear" as my favorite carol.

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, goodwill to men
From heaven's all gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.

O 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;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

Through the lyrics, I sensed God's call to rest and marveled at His gracious provision of words I could hear -- words that offered compassion and mercy, warmth and sympathy, kindness and encouragement.

Now during Christmas, I look forward to singing this carol that reminds me of God's faithfulness, and I pray that those whose forms bend low beneath life's crushing blows will also find comfort in its message.

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