Monday, December 29, 2014

This Day in Christian History: December 29

This Day in Christian History: December 29

December 29, 1849: The Christmas Hymn It Came Upon a Midnight Clear first published.

Born on April 6, 1810 in Massachusetts, Edmund Sears was a minister and author who is best known as the author of the Christmas hymn, It Came Upon a Midnight Clear. He began preaching as a missionary at age 27 in Ohio, and later served several towns in the Boston area. He wrote a good number of theological works in addition to his hymns.

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear is said to have been written upon the request of Edmund's friend, William Parsons Lunt. Originally, the poem was written as a reflection on his time as a minister, but it has since become a beloved Christmas carol. It was first published in the Christian Register on December 29, 1849.

While we here in America know the song as set to the tune of  Carol by Richard Willis, it is sung to a different tune in the U.K. Arthur Sullivan composed a tune known as Noel and adapted the lyrics to this melody around 1874.  Here is what the tune sounds like in England.


  1. We just sang that song the other day in worship. I didn't know that about it! Thanks for sharing!

    Ally @ The Scribbling Sprite

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post, Ally! Thanks for stopping by.