There are seasons of words and seasons of silence. For me, since October of this year, words have been hard to come by. My words got buried in busy-ness and grief over the loss of a beloved dog, Toasty. Some of my words were replaced by worry, some by sadness, some by pain. The truncated Advent Season afforded little time to sit and reflect and find Christ’s healing and peace. That changed in the singing of one song on the 4th Sunday of Advent.
“It Came upon the Midnight Clear” has not ever really been in my top ten Christmas Carols. But Sunday, its words swept over my heart and hearing like a balm. I heard the invitation and promise of Christmas as if it were offered to me personally. The Babel sounds have been all too loud in my ears this past couple of months. In 1849 when Edmund Sears penned these words, he spoke a great truth of the human condition. The noise and pace and weight of the world grow heavy. Life can indeed be a “crushing load.” Mr. Sears, you nailed it.
Today is Christmas Eve 2013, a day we sometimes spend measuring what is done and what is left undone. Somehow Christmas Eve marks the turning point. Today we are invited to “rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing.” When all the frenzy ends and the world quiets, we listen and taste and see. A small candle in my hand reminds me that Light has come, is come, and will come again, and I hold it in my hand tonight. You will hold it too.
Breathe deeply tonight the crisp cold air of Christmas. Sit and rest by the weary road. Hear the angels sing their song of glory, their song of hope. O for the day when peace shall indeed be born among us. O for the day when our song shall be a song of love that we send back to God.
The words below are the words of “It Came upon the Midnight Clear.” This is a prayer for all of us as we wait for Christ to be born:
“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.”
Happy Christmas to you and yours. May your heart be filled with peace. May words of thanksgiving and praise, hope and joy fill the world, just like the song the angels sing.