Scripture Verse

There were…shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8


Words: Anon­y­mous, be­fore 1863. An ar­ti­cle in the New York Times, De­cem­ber 25, 1862, re­port­ed the ca­rol was played that day on bells at Tri­ni­ty Church in New York Ci­ty. The words ap­peared in Sun­day School Hymns, com­piled by a pres­by­ter of the Di­o­cese of Mi­chi­gan (New York: Gen­er­al Pro­test­ant Epis­co­pal Sun­day School Un­ion and Church Book So­ci­e­ty, 1866), num­ber 12.

Music: Mrs. T. I. Hol­combe, in Child­ren’s Praise, ed­it­ed by Ju­li­us Hen­ry Wa­ter­bu­ry (Ro­ches­ter, New York & New York Ci­ty: D. M. Dewey and Pott, Young & Com­pa­ny, 1871), num­ber 71 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know the au­thor, Hol­combe’s full name, or where to get their pho­tos, would you ?


Bright, bright, in silver light,
The morning stars were shining;
And shepherds watching o’er their flocks,
Were on their staves reclining,
Were on their staves reclining.

Clear, clear, so very near,
A burst of music sounding;
That flocks and shepherds rose at once,
With swelling hearts rebounding,
With swelling hearts rebounding.

Loud, loud, the chorus grew,
Till all the air was swelling;
And from the heavens came a voice,
That heav’nly news was telling,
That heav’nly news was telling.

Joy! Joy! Your Lord is born!
The heavenly voice was saying
While kneeling on the frosty ground,
The shepherds all were praying,
The shepherds all were praying.

Peace, peace, on earth be peace,
Good will to brothers greeting;
Arise, and hasten to the Babe,
Fast in the stable sleeping,
Fast in the stable sleeping.

Praise, praise, to God be praise,
And glory in the highest;
All praise to Thee, O newborn Babe,
Who in the manger liest,
Who in the manger liest.

Praise, praise, the Spirit praise,
The holy Dove descending;
Who, with the Father and the Son,
Shall reign through days unending,
Shall reign through days unending.