There are sounds and voices here on this earth that are pleasant and beautiful to the ears. I wish I could hear them all.
But there are also sounds and voices that aren’t so pleasant and I’m not one bit sorry I can’t hear them. They make me sad. Sometimes they make me angry. Sometimes they make me grieve and sorrow and weep. Who wants to hear sounds like these? I ask you…
One of the things I love about this time of year is the music that rings through the air. The songs of Christmas are some of the pleasant sounds I love.
There’s one Christmas carol we sing in church that, ironically, doesn’t speak of the birth of Christ. It’s speaks of a different kind of sound. It speaks of the song of angels. There’s this crazy part of me that likes to imagine the voices of angels singing. Serenading me. Soothing my soul and spirit.
Maybe because I don’t hear well it’s easier for me to imagine the sound of a heavenly chorus, a host of angels praising God and singing.
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 Came Upon The Midnight Clear, Edmund Sears, 1849)
A midnight clear…
How pleasant is that? One of the best parts of my day is when I take my dogs outside one last time before I go to bed. I look up into the night time sky with a deep longing inside me. A longing for quiet, a longing for peace, a longing for a stillness this world cannot give me.
There’s just something about the moon and the stars all shining brightly against a pitch black sky. I thank God that I live outside city walls where no smoke or smog prohibits the wonder of it all. The wonder of a peace beyond understanding, of quiet beyond comprehension, of rest beyond appreciation. It’s in this moment that my world lies still and I can hear the more pleasant sounds of life.
The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing…
How beautiful is that? There’s just something about a night time sky that can bring a calm to the soul and spirit. A stillness that can’t be taken away. I don’t need perfect hearing to appreciate the sounds that speak to the very corners of my heart, where I long for a word of peace, a world of good will.
Who of us doesn’t need peace in a world that seems to have gone mad? Who of us doesn’t long for good will among men in a world that seems bent on vengeance? Who of us doesn’t crave calm in a world that breeds chaos?
Oh, Sweet Jesus, it’s why You came. To give this peace. To give all that is pleasant and good and right. All that is quiet and rest and calm.
“For thus the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, has said, ‘In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength.’ But you were not willing…” Isaiah 30:15
Maybe that’s why the carol, It Came Upon The Midnight Clear, is so different. Sprinkled throughout, like the light of the stars in a pitch black sky, are verses like these,
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; oh hush the noise, ye men of strife and hear the angels sing…
All 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…
Hush the noise…O rest beside the weary road…
When the voice within me wants to cry out, Lord, Stop the madness! Put an end to the chaos! Lighten the load! Give this repentance and rest that brings peace in Salvation! Grant this quietness and trust that brings hope in Strength! Lord, I don’t want to be unwilling!!!, I hear Him say to me, Hush. Rest.
You know that last gaze into the sky at the end of the day I love? That’s the kind of hush this Christmas carol is talking about. It’s the kind of calm that’s possible even in the midst of a mad, mad world. There’s a wonder in this and this wonder has a name.
Jesus. He came into this mad world with a star shining brightly into a calm, clear night. He came into a time on the kingdom calendar when God’s people were oppressed, striving hard for their daily bread, walking down weary roads with great toil; discouraged, distressed, despondent. Into this madness, Jesus came. And when He did, the angels sang.
They sang in spite of strife, of war and rumors of war, of crushing loads and wearisome toil, of painful steps and forms bending low. In the midst of discouragement, distress, despondency.
Because when Jesus came, with Him came this perfect peace for all who believe in the gift of His salvation because Jesus IS peace. This peace is worth singing about. Worth singing for.
I want to sing this song with the angels.
Because this is the peace only Christ can bring. In the stillness of the night, He still speaks to the soul and spirit. In the darkness of the night, His glory still shines brightly to the weary and worn.
Maybe that’s why I can hear the more pleasant sounds of life. Maybe that’s why I can hear the songs of angels singing,
When peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling, And the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing.
Sadly, peace will never fully be realized between all mankind on this earth, but the peace of Christ is still very real and one day peace will reign over all the earth. The whole world will sing this song together in perfect harmony, but until then it’s a song that reigns in my heart and I can hear its message loud and clear…
because the angels still sing this message of peace and when I look up into the midnight clear, I can hear them.
And who needs perfect hearing for that?