Day 13: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear
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 heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing
And ever over its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing
O 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
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing
I call it the “holiday hustle.”
It usually starts in early November, when the ornament shop where I do seasonal work begins giving me hours. This on top of the online college courses I teach, which wrap up for the semester a week before Christmas, making December the heaviest grading month of the year. Add that to the effort it takes to shop for and hide and wrap gifts for three young children, decorate a tree, find 25 nightly hiding places for the elf, deliver teacher gifts and bake Christmas cookies, visit Santa, fill Operation Christmas Child boxes, volunteer at church, address and mail Christmas cards, plan holiday meals, and make sure most of these moments are captured on film in coordinating outfits. It may be the most wonderful time of the year but it can also be the most hectic.
However, there is one specific time during the holiday hustle that the world stands still for me. For most of my years, I have attended Christmas services at various churches with various forms of worship (live, recorded, contemporary, traditional) and various life stages (with my parents and siblings, while holding my new husband’s hand, while swaying with a sleeping newborn in my arms, while watching on screen from the family room) and I’ve always felt the same peace wash over me. There is something about singing the familiar words to these beloved songs with people who share in your indescribable gratitude for this child, His birth, and a Father who loves us enough to have sent Him. The power of it stills me every time. So describes “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” in these lyrics:
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!
A midnight clear. Clear of the places to be and things to do, clear of the crushing holiday load.
A babe in a manger. God’s love. Gratitude. Fellowship.
No matter what worship looks like for you this year, let it serve as the welcome reminder that every other part of the hustle is just details.
Day 25: Coventry Carol
Lullay, lullayMy little tiny childBy-by, lullay, lullay Oh, sisters two how may we doFor to preserve this day? This poor youngling of whom we do sing Herod the King in his ragingCharged he hath this day His men of might in his own sightAll children young to slay Then...
Day 24: O Holy Night
Oh, holy night! The stars are brightly shiningIt is the night of the dear Savior's birthLong lay the world in sin and error piningTill He appeared and the soul felt its worthA thrill of hope the weary world rejoicesFor yonder breaks a new and glorious morn Fall on...
Day 23: Mary Did You Know
Mary, did you knowthat your Baby Boy would one day walk on water? Mary, did you knowthat your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you knowthat your Baby Boy has come to make you new?This Child that you delivered will soon deliver you. Mary, did you...
Day 22: O Come All Ye Faithful
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant O come ye, o come ye to Bethlehem O come and behold Him, born the King of Angels O come, let us adore Him Christ the Lord O sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation O come, o come ye to Bethlehem O Come and...
Day 21: Handel’s Messiah
For the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! The kingdom of this world Is become the kingdom of our Lord And of His Christ, and of His Christ And He shall reign for ever and ever And He shall reign for ever and ever And He shall...
Day 20: Away In The Manger
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Day 19: Breath of Heaven
I have traveled many moonless nights Cold and weary with a babe inside And I wonder what I've done Holy father you have come And chosen me now to carry your son I am waiting in a silent prayer I am frightened by the load I bear In a world as cold as stone Must I walk...
Day 18: Do You Hear What I Hear
Said the night wind to the little lamb Way up in the sky, little lamb Do you see what I see Said the little lamb to the shepherd boy Ringing through the sky, shepherd boy Do you hear what I hear Said the shepherd boy to the mighty king In your palace wall, mighty...
Day 17: Joyful, Joyful
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Day 16: Silent Night
Silent night, holy night All is calm, all is bright 'Round yon virgin Mother and Child Holy infant so tender and mild Sleep in heavenly peace Silent night, holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight! Glories stream from heaven afar; Heavenly hosts sing Al-le-lu-ia!...
Day 15: Little Drummer Boy
Come they told me A new born king to see Our finest gifts we bring To lay before the king So to honor him When we come I am a poor boy too I have no gift to bring That's fit to give our king I played my drum for him I played my best for him Then he smiled at me Me...
Day 14: Angels We Have Heard On High
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Day 12: O Come, O Come, Emmanuel
O come, O come, Emmanuel And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here Until the Son of God appear Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel Shall come to thee, O Israel O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer Our spirits by Thine advent here Disperse the gloomy...
Day 11: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
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Day 10: Light Of The World
The world waits for a miracle The heart longs for a little bit of hope Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel A child prays for peace on Earth And she's calling out from a sea of hurt Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel And can you hear the angels singing Glory to the light of the world...
Day 9: What Child Is This
What Child is this who laid to restOn Mary's lap is sleeping?Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,While shepherds watch are keeping? So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,Come Peasant, King to own HimThe King of Kings salvation brings,Let loving hearts enthrone Him....
Day 8: I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day
I heard the bells on Christmas dayTheir old familiar carols playAnd mild and sweet their songs repeatOf peace on earth good will to men And the bells are ringingLike a choir they're singing In my heart I hear them And in despair I bowed my headThere is no peace on...
Day 7: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
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Day 6: Go Tell It On The Mountain
While shepherds kept their watchingover silent flocks by night,behold throughout the heavens,there shone a holy light. Go, tell it on the mountain,over the hills and everywhere.Go, tell it on the mountainthat Jesus Christ is born. The shepherds feared and trembledwhen...
Day 5: Joy To The World
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Day 4: Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
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Day 3: Welcome to Our World
Tears are falling, hearts are breaking How we need to hear from God You've been promised, we've been waiting Welcome Holy Child Hope that You don't mind our manger How I wish we could have known But long-awaited Holy Stranger Make Yourself at home Please make Yourself...
Day 2: We Three Kings
We three kings of Orient are Bearing gifts we traverse afar Field and fountain, moor and mountain Following yonder star We three kings, we three kings Born a king on Bethlehem's plain Gold I bring to crown Him again King forever, ceasing never Over us all to reign Oh,...
Day 1: The First Noel
The First Noel, the Angels did say Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay In fields where they lay keeping their sheep On a cold winter's night that was so deep Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel Born is the King of Israel! They looked up and saw a star Shining in...