Behind The Hymn: It Came Upon A Midnight Clear

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    “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” is a poem and Christmas carol written by Edmund Sears, pastor of the Unitarian Church in Wayland, Massachusetts. Sears’ lyrics are most commonly set to one of two melodies: “Carol,” composed by Richard Storrs Willis, or “Noel,” adapted from an English melody.

    The lyrics harken to what the shepherds would have seen.

    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,1
    From heaven’s all-gracious King.”
    The world in solemn stillness lay,
    To hear the angels sing.


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