Categories

Older News

Latest Comments

December 2018

Last year the radio station Classic FM conducted a poll to discover the nation’s favourite Christmas Carol.  Many of the well-known and well-loved carols feature in the top thirty:  Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Silent Night, Once in Royal David’s City, O Little Town of Bethlehem and more.  Most of us love to sing carols.  They are often joyful, yet also have the power to touch us deeply.   My personal favourite comes in at number fifteen: It came upon a Midnight Clear.  This is the first verse:

It came upon a 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.

It is unusual because it doesn’t actually mention the birth of Jesus.  Instead it concentrates on the message of peace sung by the angels.  First published in 1849, it was written by Edmund Sears in Massachusetts at a time when America was gripped by social unrest as Civil War loomed.  That tension is reflected in a later verse in the carol:

Yet with the woes of sin and strife
The world hath suffered long;
Beneath the angel-strain have rolled
Two thousand years of wrong;
And warring humankind hears not
The love song which they bring:
O hush the noise of mortal strife,
And hear the angels sing.

The poet longs for humanity to hush its noise for long enough to hear the love song of the angels and to kneel before the infant Jesus who brings the promise of love, joy and hope into the world.  The carol ends by expressing his longing for that day when:

Peace shall over all the earth,
Its ancient splendours fling,
And all the world give back the song,
Which now the angels sing. 

There will be many opportunities to sing carols this Christmas.  Please do come and celebrate the birth of Jesus with great joy and thanksgiving.  And let’s take time together as well, to hush our noise, pray for peace, and listen for the love song of the angels.   Hilary

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>