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It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

by | Dec 18, 2020

Two weeks ago I said that I would be sharing a song each week that helps focus us on Advent and the different Advents in our lives and in the world.  How I’d like us to go about these devotionals is for us to listen to the song I present each week at least two times.  Find a comfortable position, sit back, close your eyes if that helps, listen to the words of the song, and see if anything stands out to you.  This is almost like doing lectio devina, but with a song instead.

The second song I’d like to share with you is one that you probably know really well, like I do.  It’s called “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”.  The woman in the video does a wonderful job of explaining a couple things.  1) The tune she’s singing is different than the tune we’re used to and why that is.  I think this is a good thing, because when we know a song so well, sometimes the words become lost.  By switching up the tune, it allows us to hear the words anew.  2) There are more verses than we normally hear.  Please listen below.

One of those verses I’ve never heard before is the following:

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And man, at war with man, hears not
The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.

Beneath the angel strain, two thousand years of wrong…. And man hears not the love-song which they bring.  These words struck me today.  Some Advents are of our own making.  We cause pain in others, we say something in anger, we allow our pride to overtake us, and we drown out the love song that the angels are trying to have us hear. 

It’s not always an easy thing to hear the song which now the angels sing.  We’re distracted with so much, worry, doubt, holidays, family gatherings or no, was that just a normal sneeze or am I getting sick, how can I stay in my house for one more second, etc… these things distract us from the hearing the heavens love song for the world.  We focus on our own lives and our own problems so closely that sometimes we forget that the song is for the world, not just us, not just our family, not just our neighborhood, or church, or country, or hemisphere, but for the entire weary world.

This Advent let us hear the song sung by the heavens for the earth, allow it to embolden and challenge us to show love to all.  For many are feeling life’s crushing load and many have forms that are bending low.  But it is when we give back the song that peace and splendor is felt.  So let us lift up ourselves and others by echoing the love song which now the angels sing.

Amen.

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