“O 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;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.”
– It Came Upon the Midnight Clear
“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
I have listened to many versions of “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear” and I have only found one that included the third stanza above. I find this stanza to be more meaningful than the others. It recognizes how we live in a world which makes us weary – in lives that can weigh us down with crushing loads. These loads are heavy on our shoulders, bending us low. The longer we carry them, the harder it becomes to keep going. Each step becomes more painful and we become slower under the weight.
Yet, we can rejoice because help comes swiftly if we ask. We can be overwhelmed with the burdens we carry and feel too weary to even look and listen for God. In the last two lines of the stanza above we are reminded to “rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.” Notice that Edmund Sears, the lyricist, doesn’t say “rest on the weary road”; no, he wants you to remember that you don’t have to be on the road. You can rest beside it, Jesus says in Matthew 11:28 to come to Him when we are weary and burdened. Come to Him before we get on the weary road and He will give us rest.
“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31
Lord, when I am weak and weary, help me turn to You. When I am overwhelmed with the loads I carry, help me turn to You. Help me to look and listen for You, God and rest beside those weary roads I walk upon. Amen.