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. Luke 2:8–9
Words: Author unknown. Translated to English by John Brownlie, Hymns of the Early Church (London: Morgan & Scott, 1913), pages 50–51.
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Herdsmen keeping lonely vigil
While the earth in slumber lay;
Eager scanned the far horizon,
For the coming of the day;
And a blaze of heavenly light,
Rent the curtains of the night.
Never shone a morn so radiant
Since creation had its birth,
And the orb of day in fullness
Shed its primal light on earth,
And the morning stars abroad,
Triumphed with the sons of God.
Stay your coming, dawn and sunrise,
For a Sun of high renown
Pours His light upon our darkness,
And this Orb shall ne’er go down;
Now Immanuel, Christ our Lord,
Dwells on earth, Incarnate Word.
Lift your eyes, ye lonely watchers,
See the host in raiment white;
List, the strains of heavenly music
Mingling with transcendent light;
Ne’er such music waked a morn;
Sons of men! the Christ is born.
Weary hearts that dwell in darkness!
Cast your dismal fears away;
Lo, the Sun on earth is shining,
For the morn has risen today,
And the light that hailed His birth,
Pours its glory on the earth.