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HOLIDAY SONG: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

Written in 1849, “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” is a poem by Edmund Sears, who was a pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Mass. Sears’ lyrics are often put to “Carol,” a melody composed for the poem by Richard Storrs Willis. However, “Noel,” modified by Arthur Sullivan from an English melody, also has been used.

Angelic singers share the message of peace on Earth in this carol, and many well-known popular artists, including Josh Groban, have entranced listeners with their renditions of this holiday classic.

“It Came Upon the 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, good will 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 blessed 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 seen of old,
when the ever-circling years
shall come the time foretold
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendors fling,
and the whole world send back the song
which now the angels sing

Written by Edmund Sears
Lyrics courtesy of

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