Our reading for Advent at the Christmas candlelight services focused on the second verse of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. The world is a beautiful, difficult place where our joy is often tempered with grief. We can choose to focus on the weariness or we can focus on the sure knowledge that those who trust in Jesus will one day lay aside this weary world and rest forever in the safe arms of our Father.
2020 has been quite the year, hasn’t it?
Several Christmas carols refer to “the weary world”, which seems like such an apt description of us all right now. We’re weary, so very weary.
But God meets us in our weariness. Matthew 11:28 and 29 read “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
Rest for my soul sounds amazing. Our very souls are overwrought and overburdened and God reminds us that they don’t have to be.
This Advent season, we’ve been focusing on the words of the hymn, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”. The words were written long ago by a pastor, Edmund Sears, during a time when the news was full of war and strife around the world and he was dealing with his own depression. His words paint striking images that reflect both his own time and ours, acknowledging the hurt of the world and extending the hope of Christ as the angels bring his message of peace.
Still through the cloven skies they come,
With peaceful wings unfurled,
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.
The message of peace the angels sang that long ago night of Christ’s birth still rings true. This world feels weary and chaotic, but Jesus is still the Prince of Peace and he is calling us to a deep and restoring rest in Him.
May we quiet our hearts this Christmas season so that we can hear that heavenly music “and the whole world give back the song which now the angels sing.”