I don’t know if I remember ever having sung the second verse of this carol. It fell upon me quite suddenly last Sunday morning.
“It came upon a 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.
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 prophets seen of old,
When with the ever circling years shall come the time foretold,
When peace shall over all the earth it’s ancient splendors fling,
And all the world give back the song which now the angels sing.”
I, for one, am looking forward to doing the job of the angels and singing back to the heavens their song, when I’m at the end of the story and can look back on the breadth and the width of it with full knowing. I anticipate the sight of these mysterious ancient splendors flung over the earth and wonder not a little bit if they will be so strange or, rather, if they will be more familiar than I had ever thought. Ah, yes! This is what it was supposed to be like! This is what we were waiting for! This is right! This is why everything else felt so wrong!
So rest, you weary forms toiling along the climbing way, rest in this season and hear the promise in the angels’ song. It’s our song to learn. And one day we will sing it back.