Luke 1:79 tells us why Jesus came. Jesus is “It” who came upon the midnight clear in today’s carol. That reason is “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” I found several “versions” of this song out there with little differences, so because I grew up Lutheran I went with the hymnal version of that (via online source hymnary.org).
Did you take enough time this Christmas season so far to spend honoring the newborn king? I’ve personally delighted in the opportunity to write for you every day and share a bit of my life, my journey. Starting with our Advent series this year, I have been drawn into a closer walk with God. It’s my prayer that’s the same for you.
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 all,
from heav’n’s all-gracious King.”
The world in solemn stillness lay
to hear the angels sing.
Have you taken enough time this Christmas season so far to lay in any stillness? It seems like the world moves on a faster and faster pace these days. The expectation and desperate need exists now for instant gratification. The short attention span generation is coming of age and it’s starting to rub off on us.
Doesn’t peace on earth sound especially refreshing this year? How can we get a little more of that, please God? I’m saddened by the world right now. But it’s all humans doing stupid things. I can’t say it’s just in America where I spent most of my life. Seeing the United States as an expat from the “outside-in” so to speak, has given me such a clearer perspective than if I’d been smack dab in the middle of it.
Still through the cloven skies they come
with peaceful wings unfurled,
and still their heav’nly music floats
O’er all the weary world.
Above its sad and lowly plains
they bend on hov’ring wing,
and ever o’er its Babel sounds
the blessed angels sing.
Now if that doesn’t put you into an angelic mood! I can almost see those wings floating across the sky. I think we should all be looking to the heavens these days. Aren’t we, too, a weary world in need of a Savior?
Fun Fact: In case you were wondering, like I was, what a cloven sky is, I looked it up. “Cloven means “split” or “divided in two.” This so beautifully describes how the heavenly angels broke through from heaven. The sky had to split open!
All you, beneath your heavy load,
By care and guilt bent low,
who toil along a dreary way
with painful steps and slow:
Look up, for golden is the hour,
come swiftly on the wing,
The Prince was born to bring you peace;
Of him the angels sing.
We’ve all got baggage. For some reason, we like to keep it in the closet or under the bed so nobody sees how truly heavy our load is. Why is that?
But we can rejoice! Why? Because the Prince of Peace was born to bring us peace! Resonate with Luke 2:14 which reads, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” Who exactly is God pleased with? God sent the Prince of Peace for us. And as we place our trust in Jesus, he carries that baggage right on out of our lives!
For lo, the days have come to pass
by prophets seen of old,
when down into the circling years
Came Christ as was foretold.
His word of peace shall to the earth
God’s ancient promise bring,
and all who take this gift will hear
The song the angels sing.
What rings to me in this verse is John 1:1. “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The nativity story from John’s gospel is so beautiful. We may not have a baby in the manger, but we have Jesus at creation.
John 16:13 says, “When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future.” That’s the verse I think of with the closing phrase of this carol.
Take time today to sit with the words of this song. What other lines or phrases have spoken to your heart?
Let’s pray. Lord, thank you for your peace. I know that all I have to do is shut out the craziness of the world and just sit in your presence in prayer, in your word, with other believers, in worship. That is perfect peace in you, God. Help me to draw closer to you each day. I cherish each moment with you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.