It Came Upon a Midnight Clear: A Christmas Devotional

Saturday Morning Devotional – 2nd in the Song Series

As we continue to study the meanings of Christmas song lyrics, let’s take a look at “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.” These are powerful!

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear devotional through lyrics

This is another one of those songs that I used to sing as a child, but I never took time to figure out what it was I was singing. I loved it because it had what I called a “mysterious” sound to it.

Once I paid attention to the lyrics (in my adult years), it became one of my favorite Christmas songs because of the words. See what I mean as we read “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

A Brief History of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

This hymn was written by Edmund Sears in 1849. He was a Unitarian minister who believed in the divinity of Christ, angels, and their message of peace.

He wrote this hymn about peace at a time when the United States was in conflict within it’s own borders. This was the time leading up to the Civil War. You have to think that the events of the day had to be his inspiration.  

Angels bending near the earth lyrics to it came upon a midnight clear

Lyrics of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”

The lyrics of this song are public domain, so I will share all of them. Read them carefully.

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 heav’n’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 unfurl
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 o’er 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
O rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.

For lo the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old
When with the ever circling years shall come the time foretold
When the new heaven and earth shall own the prince of peace their King
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.
(These lyrics came from LyricFind.)

Another Verse

When I wrote the post about “Joy to the World,” I mentioned that the third verse was my favorite. As it happens, it is the third verse in many songs that I tend to favor. That is the case with “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

However, the third verse that I love so much is not in some of the hymnals, song books, or websites. There is a different verse in the lyrics above, which is beautiful, but it is not the one I was looking to share. Read my favorite verse of the song below, taken from this hymnal.

Favorite Lyrics – In the Third Verse

Yet with the woes of sin and strife, the world has suffered long;
Beneath the angel strain have rolled two thousand years of wrong,
And men, at war with men, hear not, the love song which they bring.
Oh hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing.

(Taken from Great Gospel Songs and Hymns, #282)

The last two lines are my favorites! When I think about the spiritual realm, and realize that there is so much about it that I don’t know, it is mind boggling. My other thought is that whatever the Lord is doing, whether that be through angels, His Spirit, or people He choses to use, I don’t want to miss it because of arguments or strife.

It came upon a midnight clear scripture in Isaiah

I would like to purpose to live a life of peace. I don’t want to miss His blessings caught up in strife! Who will join me in this challenge?

Listen to the Song

I finally found a version of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” that had my verse in it. Thank you Mercyme for including it! Listen to this version of the song to hear those lyrics. Click here to listen.

Related Posts

Keep a Song in Your Heart
My Top 11 Christian Songs of Hope and Restoration
Lessons from the Christmas Inn Keeper

Remember to live in peace and listen for the Lord to speak, however He chooses to do so. Don’t let strife and conflict keep you from hearing His messages of peace to you.

Until next week…

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“Let the whole earth shout to the Lord; be jubilant, shout for joy, and sing.” Psalms 98:4

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  1. Thank you, Susan, for this beautiful devotional this Saturday morning. I have been enjoying your series on Christmas music. There is no time to allow strife to create a barrier in our lives. We need to keep our eyes on him and allow peace to be the center of our homes. Blessings to you this Christmas season.

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