The last featured song of the Christmas Carol series is “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear.” It describes angelic activity on the night that Christ was born. The scene is set at midnight and the sky is clear enough to see praise streaming through the cosmos.
12:00 a.m. is the most pivotal part of any day. Framing the scene at midnight brilliantly illustrates the importance of this praise. Just as one day changed to the next, humanity was offered a magnificent and merciful transformation. We would go from the law to grace. We could go from death to life. We could go from being rebellious to being redeemed.
Scripture often references midnight as the time deliverance arrives. Here are a few biblical midnight highlights:
After centuries of being enslaved by the Egyptians, the Israelites witnessed God defeat their oppressors (see Exodus 12:21-30).
An unsuspecting Boaz awakened to find Ruth, a virtuous woman who would become his bride (see Ruth 3).
As an imprisoned Paul and Silas prayed, the doors to their cell opened and all the prisoners’ chains fell (see Acts 16:16-26).
Is there an area of your life primed for a midnight moment? A long-awaited victory, an unexpected relationship or a miraculous answer to prayer could come your way soon.
In just a few days, midnight is about to take center stage. It will signal the calendar to rollover and the New Year will unfold. A ball will drop. Glasses will toast. Prayers will ascend.
Depending on our plans, we may check the forecast to see how clear it will be on New Year’s Eve. But frankly, I’m more concerned with the clarity of my thinking as I begin 2016. I don’t want to miss my midnight moment.
I believe embracing the beauty of the lyrics from “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear” points us in the right direction:
“It came upon a midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold.”
The image of angelic praise prompts me to respond to God’s grace too. I don’t have a harp of gold but I do have a heap of blessings and a few burdens from 2015. It’s likely you do too. The blessings have touched my life in wondrous ways, but the burdens feel far from wonderful.
Thankfully, we have the power to choose how we’ll carry our blessings and burdens into 2016. And yet, like the angels, the appropriate response may require us to bend.
Are we willing to bend beneath our pride and forgive someone?
Are we willing to bend outside our comfort zone to accomplish a God-given assignment?
Are we willing to bend our attitude towards gratitude in spite of a disappointment?
If I consider my “bend” as a bow of worship, I’ll look at my challenging tasks much differently. A worshipful perspective leads me to embrace the grace the angels celebrated. I can avoid bitterness, fear and discontentment and experience a midnight deliverance moment.
As we approach the New Year, here’s some good news: God holds 2016 and every year in His hands. As we trust that He holds us too, magnificent pivots and clarity will come and bring hope to the heart and joy to the soul.
“I rise at midnight to thank you for your just regulations.” – Psalm 119:62 NLT