Scripture Verse

There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Luke 2:8–9

Introduction

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Christmas Carols New and Old, 1871

Words & Mu­sic: Tra­di­tion­al Eng­lish ca­rol, pos­si­bly as ear­ly as the 13th Cen­tu­ry (🔊 pdf nwc). This com­bin­a­tion of tune and ly­rics first ap­peared in Christ­mas Ca­rols, An­cient and Mo­dern, by Will­iam San­dys (Lon­don: Ri­chard Beck­ley, 1833).

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Nativity
Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528)

Lyrics

The first Noel the angel did say
Was to certain poor shepherds
In fields as they lay;
In fields where they lay tending their sheep,
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep.

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Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
Born is the King of Israel.

They lookèd up and saw a star
Shining in the east,
Beyond them far;
And to the earth it gave great light,
And so it continued both day and night.

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And by the light of that same star
Three wise men came
From country far;
To seek for a king was their intent,
And to follow the star wherever it went.

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This star drew nigh to the northwest,
Over Bethlehem
It took its rest;
And there it did both stop and stay,
Right over the place where Jesus lay.

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Then did they know assuredly
Within that house
The King did lie;
One entered it them for to see,
And found the Babe in poverty.

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Then entered in those wise men three,
Full reverently
Upon the knee,
And offered there, in His presence,
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

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Between an ox stall and an ass,
This Child truly
There He was;
For want of clothing they did Him lay
All in a manger, among the hay.

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Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to
Our heavenly Lord;
That hath made Heaven and earth of naught,
And with His blood mankind hath bought.

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If we in our time shall do well,
We shall be free
From death and hell;
For God hath prepared for us all
A resting place in general.

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