“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.