If I close my eyes, I can picture that night. Pitch black and still. Quiet. When suddenly, it wasn’t dark or quiet anymore. The brilliant light of the angels’ glory pierced the darkness and startled the shepherds sleepily guarding their sheep. Upon that midnight clear, they began to sing a “glorious song of old”.
Luke 2:13-14 says, “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Peace and goodwill. I long for that. Don’t you? This past year, it has been difficult for people in our country to treat each other with common courtesy, let alone “goodwill”. Merriam-Webster defines goodwill as “a kindly feeling of approval and support; benevolent interest or concern” or “cheerful consent”. It lists the following synonyms: “benevolence, brotherhood, charity, cordiality, fellowship, friendliness, and neighborliness”.
Fellowship? Brotherhood? But what if they voted for Hillary? What if they voted for Trump? What if they are black? What if they’re white? What if they are immigrants? What if they are police officers? What if they are Christians? What if they aren’t? How am I expected to get along with people who are so different than me? How can I be friendly towards people I don’t understand?
Edmund H. Sears penned the well-known Christmas carol, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” in 1849. In a book titled, “Then Sings My Soul” by Robert J. Morgan, I found the lyrics to a particular verse that I had never heard before. When I consider the time period in which he wrote this verse, it really hits home. The Civil War wouldn’t officially start for another 12 years but the country was already torn apart by the sin of slavery and the fight over it. Sears wrote:
…And man, at war with man, hears not/The love-song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife/ And hear the angels sing!
Since sin entered the world, man has been at war. We sin against God, we fight against our own, we cause each other pain and strife. But when Jesus was born, the angels sang us a great love song. The message was:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Our Messiah was born! The One who would save us from our sins. The One who would redeem us. The One who would heal us. The One who promised us eternal life with Him. The Prince of Peace.
After all the ways we’ve hurt each other and sinned against God, He still loves us and sent us a Way to salvation. Jesus.
The good news is great joy for all people. But, when we are at war with each other, we can’t or won’t hear the message.
What if we hush the noise? What if we stop fighting each other and be quiet so that we can listen to the song the angels sang to us? What if we remember that it’s not about us, it’s about Him? The Great Light that pierces our midnight and offers us His peace and goodwill.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Resource: Then Sings My Soul, Morgan, Robert J. (2003). Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville.