Scripture Verse

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


Words: Will­is B. All­en, 1911.

Music: Bur­dett George A. Bur­dett, 1911 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Bur­dett (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Willis B. Allen (1855–1938)

Origin of the Hymn

The great world was wea­ry, by Wil­lis Boyd Al­len, of Bos­ton, was wri­tten as a Christ­mas greet­ing to the au­thor’s mo­ther, and af­ter­ward a few cop­ies were dis­trib­ut­ed among her friends. It was first pub­lished in [the 1911 Me­tho­dist Sun­day School hym­nal]…Un­for­tu­nate­ly the au­thor’s phrase, But shep­herds abode with their flocks by night is mis­printed shephe­rds above.

Carl Fowl­er Price
The Chris­tian Ad­vo­cate
November 28, 1912


The great world was wea­ry and turned from the light;
The sin­ful were tired of sin­ning and slept;
But shep­herds abode with their flocks by night,
And in the same coun­try their faith­ful watch kept.

No wel­come for stran­gers, for ba­by no room,
Save one lit­tle manger up­on the cold ground,
As Ma­ry and Jo­seph drew nigh through the gloom,
And in the same coun­try a rest­ing place found.

Above the dark hill­tops there shone a bright star,
As Beth­le­hem woke to its first Christ­mas morn;
And songs of great joy filled the hea­vens afar,
For in the same coun­try child Je­sus was born.

O hearts that are hea­vy, O sad and for­lorn,
O poor feet that fal­ter and halt by the way,
Rejoice! Un­to man­kind a Sav­ior is born—
This is the same coun­try, ’tis Christ­mas to­day.