On earth peace, goodwill toward men.
Edmund Sears was depressed. The United States and Mexico were struggling in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War (1846–1848). And Europe was staggering under the weight of the numerous revolutions of 1848.
It seemed to Sears that all over the world, people were immersed in war, strife, and enmity—that God’s angel-delivered message of peace and goodwill was falling on heedless ears. He composed It Came Upon a Midnight Clear in 1849.
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 heavens all gracious King!”
And men, at war with men, hear not
The love-song which they bring:
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
And hear the angels sing.
Peace with others depends on
peace within and peace with God.