This Christmas carol is a poem written by Edmund Sears in 1849. The poem was set to music by Richard Storrs Willis in 1850. According to “The Complete Book of Hymns,” the writer, Edmund Sears was a minister who believed in the deity of Christ and the angels’ message of “Peace on Earth.”
The hymn describes the night when suddenly the angels appeared to shepherds in the field, declaring the birth of Jesus Christ. (Luke 2:13-14)
The stanzas or verses encourages us to stop and listen to the Christmas message sang by the angels even in the midst of the global challenges we are experiencing today.
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.
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.
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.
For lo, the days are hast’ning on,
By prophet seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heav’n and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
The peace that Jesus Christ brings is “Peace which transcends all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7) This recording truly captures what I could only imagine as the sound of angelic voices singing in a choir. Listen on Spotify if you’re a subscriber or YouTube.
This is the Dec. 17 Song Blog from (my) Julie-Ann Joy’s 2020 Christmas Playlist. Check back everyday until New Year’s Day as I add another song to my playlist.