Hope in Difficult Days
“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”
-It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
Right off the bat I’m going to address the question that comes up every year – “Did the angels really sing?” I don’t know. Some scholars believe that they did, but there is disagreement, often in the course of translation. Job 38 seems to say that the angels sang at the birth of creation, and Revelation 5 makes an allowance for the possibility of angelic songs. What we do know, whether the angels sang or simply spoke, is that they were worshipping.
The angels were bringing tidings of gladness and joy – worship – to a world that had been languishing in darkness and silence. The world had not heard a word from God in a very long time! The prophet Malachi was the last person who spoke the words of the Lord to the people of Israel, and his book of prophecy is generally believed to have been penned around 450 BC.
That means that God’s people had been waiting on a word for generations!
Try to imagine yourself in that position – you are believing in the promise of a Messiah to come, but the last person who heard from God was your great, great, great, great, great grandfather. You were probably growing weary of waiting. That seems to be familiar to how we find ourselves today.
We’ve had a difficult past two years at Skyland. We’ve had many friends and family members go on to be with Jesus. We’ve been prevented from gathering. We’ve had to be careful about how we fellowship. We’ve gone weeks, months, and years without a hug from a dear friend, brother, or sister. It has been easy to lose hope, and it’s hard to have a heart of worship when we’re feeling hopeless.
But, look at this verse:
“For lo, the days are hastening on, by prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years shall come the time foretold,
When peace shall over all the earth its ancient splendors fling,
And the whole world send back the song which now the angels sing.”
We can have hope in the reality that there is coming a day when everything will be made right. As Christ came in the form of a man, lived a perfect life, died as a ransom on our behalf, and rose again to reign victoriously, He will return to bring peace – a peace that will have no end. We will worship Him endlessly, even as the angels did – whether singing or speaking.
Christ is our abundant joy. Our hope in the solemn night, our refuge in times of trouble, and our new morning mercies after a long, dark night. There is no peace like the peace found in Jesus. It is my prayer that you find it this Christmas. The joy of Jesus is at hand – let us praise Him now and evermore.