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.
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 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.
For lo!, the days are hastening on,
By prophet bards foretold,
When with the ever-circling years
Comes round the age of gold
When peace shall over all the earth
Its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world give back the song
Which now the angels sing.
Oh, the snowflakes fell in silence
Over Belleau Wood that night
For a Christmas truce had been declared
By both sides of the fight
As we lay there in our trenches
The silence broke in two
By a German soldier singing
A song that we all knew
Though I did not know the language
The song was "Silent Night"
Then I heard my buddy whisper
"All is calm and all is bright"
Then the fear and doubt surrounded me
Because I'd die if I was wrong
But I stood up in my trench
And I began to sing along
Then across the frozen battlefield
Another's voice joined in
Until one by one each man became
A singer of the hymn
Then I thought that I was dreaming
For right there in my sight
Stood the German soldier
'Neath the falling flakes of white
And he raised his hand and smiled at me
As if he seemed to say
Here's hoping we both live to see us
Find a better way
Then the devil's clock struck midnight
And the skies lit up again
And the battlefield where heaven stood
Was blown to hell again
But for just one fleeting moment
The answer seemed so clear
Heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's just beyond the fear
No, heaven's not beyond the clouds
It's for us, to find it, here
Sometimes, there's a single phrase in a song that catches me - and not necessarily something obvious. From "Life has killed the dream" from "I dreamed a dream", MM #45; to "We became stepdads and soccer moms" in "Life Happened", MM#85. And perhaps the most notable in our family's history was "Who brings my chaos back into order", "This Is Amazing Grace", MM#96.
Both of these songs have a line that I haven't forgotten.
"Beneath the angel-strain have rolled / two thousand years of wrong"
Living in A.D. 2017, over two thousand years since the Word of God became flesh...are things better...are we kinder to each other...has the command to love God and love our neighbor been better obeyed? In some ways...a little. But there's still so much distrust, so much fear of the other, so much scapegoating.
"Then the devil's clock struck midnight"
It's horrible how so often we can discard our shared humanity - in some cases our shared heritage or our shared faith. War is hell, even at times setting brother against brother.