Our spirits need food just as our bodies do, and I’m always looking for such spiritual food. I usually find it in the Bible. I sometimes find it through the Spirit (I think there are times when the Spirit applies the Bible to my situations, and other times when the Spirit just helps me see a truth from God apart from the Bible in my situations). And I occasionally find it in spiritual songs as well.
I found some spiritual food in the old Christmas carol “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear” this morning. I was putting the overhead slides for this song into the PowerPoint presentation for Sunday’s worship. As I did, I noticed that the music the band planned to use had a few verses I didn’t know. There were some lyrics to this song I had never heard before. Oh, I knew the first verse by heart. I have known it by heart since I was a child. I knew the tune as well. But I had somehow missed these verses. The first of them said this:
Still through the cloven skies they [the angels announcing the birth of Jesus] come,
With peaceful wings unfurled;
And still their heavenly music floats
O’er all the weary world:
Above its sad and lowly plains
They bend on hovering wing,
And ever o’er its Babel sounds
The blessed angels sing.
What really caught my attention (and that’s usually how spiritual food comes to me; something in a Scripture or a song or a situation just catches my attention, probably through the agency of the Spirit) was the second to last line (which, by chance, just happened to be the thumbnail YouTube used for the above version). That line says the angels sing over the “Babel sounds” of the earth’s sad and lowly plains and continue to sing over them. In other words, the angels deliver the message of the birth of Jesus despite whatever mean and meaningless things the world says.
This was a great encouragement to me. It was a great encouragement to me because I am quite affected by the world’s mean and meaningless sayings. I have what some people call “a prophetic nature”. I am very distraught by false statements and often want to engage them in battle. I see them as threats to the Gospel and want to neutralize them. What I have come to realize lately is that there are far too many such statements out there. These threats to the Gospel are never going to be neutralized, not as completely and permanently as I desire.
What this song is telling me, though, and what I believe the Spirit was telling me, is that it doesn’t matter if they are neutralized or not. The Gospel is proclaimed despite those statements, and it continues to bear fruit despite those statements as well. The angels’ song and the birth of Christ happened and continues to progress not by neutralizing all contrary songs and deeds but by riding over them unhindered and oblivious.
To a prophet and Jesus-lover like me, that is a great encouragement. I hope it encourages you as well.