All is Well, Go Gently

I rummaged through my few holdout CDs. Then I looked carefully. And then looked again.

Sam had built a blazing fire in the wood stove, and I sat back down with him watching the flames as we drank our first cup of coffee.

“It’s not possible, but I can’t find my old Michael W. Smith Christmas,” I said. “One of the finest Christmas songs. An inspired arrangement! How could I have given it away?”

He looked at me, held up his index finger, and got up to get his phone. Wordlessly, he plugged it into the sound bar, found the song, and handed me the remote. I cranked the volume. With the first words my tears began. There is no more angelic sound than a boy’s high soprano.

“All is well, all is well.
Angels and men rejoice.
For tonight darkness fell
Into the dawn of love’s light.”

I remember the first time I heard this song in 1989. My sixteen-and-a-half year marriage was on the brink of collapse, and had been for several years. Our children were 15, 13, 8, and 1. With the first words, “All is well,” I lost it. Somehow the words, sung in the child’s pure voice, sent hope all through me. Money was too tight to buy cassette tapes, so I kept the radio on much of the time in hopes of hearing it again. One suppertime during Christmas week, it came on. I ran to the radio, turned it up, and worshipped while we ate.

The winding road of the next years was, as usual, a twisty thing. But through it all, I knew better than to give up. As Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

“All is well, all is well.
Let there be peace on earth.
Christ has come, go and tell.
Lift up your voice and sing.”

All is well, go and tell. But go gently. Gently. Be spare with your words. Tremble when you speak “apples of gold in pictures of silver.” God is at work.

After coffee by the fire, Sam morphed into full cookie mode and donned denim apron and red Santa Claus hat. I went to type next week’s blog.

The weary world is watching. Merry Christmas to all.

“O holy night . . . the thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices.” Adolphe Adam, 1847