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It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”1

Unlike many of the other composers we have seen, Reverend Edmund Hamilton Sears only wrote two hymns during his life. “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” was one of them and was composed in 1849.

Reverend Sears lived in New England during a hectic time in history. The Gold Rush had forced many men to leave their families and head to California in search of money. During the mid-1800’s, there was also the rise of the Industrial Revolution, which is when America began mass manufacturing all sorts of materials. This new machinery required skilled workers, so more people started leaving their farms and moving to the cities as more factories were built. The cities became overcrowded and American Culture began changing.

The importance of church and family that was present in the farm communities quickly began fading as people sought after jobs and gold. This detrimental shift in priorities caused Reverend Sears to grow concerned for the faith of American families. This concern resulted in the words that could just as easily apply to our society today:

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.

Oh rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing!2

Honestly, American culture is not much different from then! People still seek better jobs, money, and status. Unfortunately, it becomes even more hectic during Christmas as people rush around looking for the “perfect” gifts. If only we could be still, rest, and in the words of Reverend Sears “hear the angels sing!”

Jesus was and is the only Christmas gift we need. Let HIM be our priority this season.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, please keep me from losing sight of You. Nothing on this earth could ever compare to the greatest Gift of all… Jesus Christ. Help your peace fill my heart, and Your kindness flow through me to others. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

  1. Luke 2:14.

  2. "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear" written by Edmund Sears, 1849.


Today’s Encounter was written by: Crystal B.

All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.