Noticing the Light • Devotion #2: “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” was written by Edmund Sears in 1849. It is said that Sears, a pastor in Wayland, Massachusetts, wrote this carol during a period of personal sadness.

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

This carol is actually ten verses long. I find it interesting that although he was suffering from depression, he wrote about angels singing. Five times he mentions angels singing. This sounds like good therapy.

Scripture often speaks of angels singing. At this time of year, we often refer to what happened at Jesus’ birth, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13-14).

This is not the first time Scripture records angels singing. Job 38:7 references creation, “When the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” Isaiah 6:1-3 also shares their activity, “In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’”

It will not be the last time angels sing. John writes about the future in Revelation 5:11-12, “Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, ‘Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!’” John adds in Revelation 15:3-4, “And they sing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.’”

It appears God likes singing. We need to join the angels in worshiping the Lord.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!

Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!”

Psalm 100:1

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