At church yesterday we sang “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” to the quirky-beautiful plucking of Lyndi’s ukelele.
We sang all the verses.
The third resonated somewhere deep in my heart:
“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!”
Does anyone else out there feel life’s crushing load as I do?
Of course I feel this when life is going badly for me or for those I love: unexpected death among friends and family, chronic illness, relational conflict.
But I still feel this even when things are going well! There is always natural disaster, genocide, disunity, injustice looming somewhere in the world, just out of reach. And when I manage to block those out, there is still the house to clean, Christmas gifts to buy, parties to plan, cookies to bake.
It is not always this way, but there are definitely seasons of my life when my spirit feels each painful, slow, toiling step along life’s journey.
But, yesterday, for one glad hour, as we sang this old, old hymn, I basked in the goldenness. I rested my mind and soul along the weary road and paid attention to the angels singing all around. I laid down the burdens of my heart on the asphalt and looked now! There were angel-messengers singing everywhere: the kids’ choirs sharing the songs they’d practiced; the pastor unwrapping simple gifts of Joy in my heart; the friend next to me in the pew, snuggling my baby; the then fussing babe who preferred me to stand and bounce with him through the last half of the service. (Who knows who in the pews behind us might have needed their heart warmed by the sight of a bouncing babe with his mama?)
Wishing you many golden hours of restful listening this advent. May you hear all kinds of songs hummed into your heart by a myriad of heaven-sent messengers!