Now lift the carol, men and maids,
Now wake exultant singing;
This day the Well of Life first sprang,
Who shall declare His springing?
It is the birthday of our Peace;
This day for man the weary,
The everlasting Son of God
Was born of blessèd Mary.
Proclaim the Savior’s birth;
He raises us to Heaven,
O hail His coming down to earth.
He was not born in such sweet days,
As we of yore remember;
’Twas not the sunny summer time,
Oh! ’twas the cold December:
As shines the sun above the snows
When nature’s life is lying
Fast bound in winter’s icy chain,
So came He to the dying.
He did not bring a royal train,
A host no man might number,
Nor lay begirt by damask folds,
Nor lulled by harp to slumber.
Oh, He was wrapped in swathing bands
Whose might o’erspans the Heaven,
And that mean trough where oxen fed,
For His first rest was given.
There were poor shepherds in the field,
Their flocks at midnight tending;
Then Heav’n came down and brought for news,
A rapture never ending;
So they went swift to Bethlehem,
And saw—and told the story
Of Christ the Lord, a little child,
And angels singing,
Not in the manger lies He now;
Far o’er the sapphire portal
At God’s right hand of power He sits
Who was this day made mortal:
All in the highest, holiest place,
Where there may dwell none other,
There our own Manhood sits enthroned,
There is our elder brother.
The birthday of our God and king—
Lo! we are called to greet Him;
The everlasting Bridegroom comes,
Oh, go ye out to meet Him.
This is the end of all below,
The crown of love’s best story;
Christ stands and knocks—oh, happy souls,
Receive the King of glory.