The third verse strikes me as most poignant including the line “Man at war with man”. There seems to me to always be some new conflict, or a flaring up of an old one, around Christmas time despite the angels song of “Peace and goodwill”.

Let’s hope more people do take time to stop and hear the angels’ song.

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, goodwill 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 blessèd angels sing.
 
Yet with 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.
 
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 splendours fling,
And all the world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.
 
Edmund Hamilton Sears (1810-1876)

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