It Came upon the Midnight Clear
Edmund H. Sears
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 thro' 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.
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.
Edmund Hamilton Sears was born in 1819 and after graduating from Harvard Divinity School he settled down in small town Massachusetts. He wrote two Christmas carols, fifteen years apart, and they both have the exact same tune. His second one is the more famous, "It Came upon the Midnight Clear". This is an interesting carol because the sole focus is peace on earth. There is no mention of Christ or the newborn Babe but the message is heard.
*Hymn history is from Then Sings My Soul by Robert J. Morgan