It's the last week of Advent.
Last night we had our small group over for our annual Christmas party. After eating we gathered around our Christmas tree, kids on the floor and adults squeezed in on the couches and chairs. Ed and Jenni played their guitars and Marcia played her flute as we sang Christmas carols, the kids shouting out the song numbers from old church songbooks.
As we were singing It Came Upon the Midnight Clear I was struck by the prophetic power of the third verse:
Yet with the woes of sin and strifeIt's a stunning image. The angels appear above the shepherds and declare the birth of the Christ child with this refrain of peace on earth:
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.
Luke 2:13-14And yet, as It Came Upon a Midnight Clear recounts, since that angelic declaration of peace there has been "two thousand years of wrong." Why? Because "man, at war with man, hears not the love-song which they bring."
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
We don't hear the love song.
And so the call continues to go out: "O hush the noise, ye men of strife, and hear the angels sing."