Day 13: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

by Dec 13, 2020Christmas 2020, Devotional, Songs of Christmas

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 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!...