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It Came Upon the Midnight Clear - Merry Christmas Carol Countdown

Have you ever been caroling on a clear Christmas Eve, with the stars shining all around? What a lovely sight.

At such a moment, it’s easy to picture the Bethlehem shepherds, shivering on a hillside outside Jerusalem, as the humongous choir of angels appeared to announce the birth of the Christ child.

Catch a peep at these well-known lyrics, penned in 1849 by Edmund Sears, a Unitarian pastor in Wayland, Massachusetts.

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.


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 bless├Ęd 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.


And 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 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.

Many choirs, church congregations, and solo singers have repeated these lines since they were written. Here’s a newer favorite version of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear,” as performed by Norah Jones.


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Star of Bethlehem
by Edward Burne-Jones
From: The Flower Book
Circa 1890
Public Domain – Copyright Expired
Merry Christmas Carol Countdown
Art by Nickers and Ink Creative Communications

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