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, good will to men,
From heav’n’s all gracious King!’
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.”
It must have been a clear night; a night with no clouds to block the stars. I cannot imagine it being cloudy when that horde of angels appeared with their announcement. If it were cloudy then possibly the shepherds might have thought they saw movement in the clouds, or a phantom, but they rushed immediately when they heard the message to where the newborn King lay.
From what I have read, Sears was struggling with the situation of the world. He saw only poverty, lost and helpless people, poor, and slaves. He felt that he could not write about the “Light of the world” when the world seemed very dark. All he could think about were the slums.
“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 man, at war with man, hears not
The love song which they bring:
Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing!”
This was written in 1849, years before the horrible Civil War that would take so many lives. It also became one of the most popular songs of World War I, sung by American troops during the Christmas season in France. Sears struggled when writing because of the condition of man, yet then it came to him–the only way that man is to look up to heaven. Then take the words and put them in their hearts and celebrate Christmas by reaching out to others.
“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.”
There are two more verses and they send forth the same message. Take heart if you are weary. Take heart if you sorrow and are suffering. Take heart if you fear the touch of a warn-torn world. And then LOOK UP!