The angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.@Luke 2:10–12
portrait
Franz J. Haydn (1732–1809)

Joseph Hart (1712–1768).

Austria (Haydn) arranged by Franz J. Haydn, 1797, possibly from a Croatian folk melody (🔊 pdf nwc).

illustration
Shepherds Abiding in the Fields
Carl H. Bloch (1834–1890)

Let us all with grateful praises
Celebrate the happy day,
When the lovely, loving Jesus
First partook of human clay:
When the heavenly host assembled,
Gazed with wonder from the sky:
Angels joyed and devils trembled,
Neither fully knowing why.

Long had Satan reigned imperious,
Till the woman’s promised seed,
Born a babe by birth mysterious,
Came to bruise the serpent’s head.
Crush, dear Babe, his power within us,
Break our chains, and set us free.
Pull down all the bars between us,
’Till we fly, and cleave to Thee.

Shepherds on their flocks attending,
Shepherds that in nighttime watched,
Saw the messenger descending
From the court of Heav’n dispatched.
Beams of glory decked his mission,
Bursting through the veil of night.
Fear possessed them at the vision:
Sinners tremble at the light.

Dove-like meekness graced his visage;
Joy and love shone round his head.
Soon he cheered them with his message:
Comfort flowed from all he said.
“Fear not, favorites of th’Almighty,
Joyful news to you I bring.
You have now, in David’s city,
Born, a Savior, Christ the King.

Go and find the royal Stranger
By these signs. A babe you’ll see,
Weak, and lying in a manger,
Wrapped and swaddled; that is He.

Straight a host of angels glorious
Round the heav’nly herald throng,
Utt’ring, in harmonious chorus,
Airs divine, this the song—

Glory first to God be given
In the highest heights; and then
Peace on earth, proclaimed by Heaven,
Peace, and great good will to men.

Thus they sang, with rapture kindling
In the shepherds’ hearts a flame,
Joy and wonder sweetly mingling:
All believers feel the same.

Lo, sweet Babe, we fall before Thee.
Jesus, Thee we all adore.
To Thee, kingdom, power and glory,
We ascribe forevermore.
Glory to our God be given
In the highest heights; and then
Peace on earth brought down from Heaven,
Peace, and great good will to men.