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“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear”—New Verses to Beloved Carol

“It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” is a 19th century American carol created in the context of war which addresses its horror directly.

Despite this, it offers hope and a plea for peace.

Written by Massachusetts Unitarian minister Edmond Sears, includes several verses decrying humanity’s warring ways while predicting a better future. It was created in 1849 after the end of the Mexican-American War, popular but not just, and at a time Europe was in great turmoil.

The original carol includes these words:

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.

In this context I wish to share new verses I have written:

O hush the noise, you strife-filled souls,
And hear the message clear:
God wills a peaceful time on earth
For all the creatures dear.
Embrace the hope that builds no walls,
The love that knows no fear.
Believe the words the angels sang,
The song of peace we hear.

For justice, love and peace we pray,
Like glorious songs of old.
Embolden us with joy to say…
Mid sorrows, hate untold…
Good will to all, with health imbue
A fragile, struggling earth.
With peace our hearts with love renew,
To show all creatures’ worth.

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