Scripture Verse

There were…shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. Luke 2:8–9


Words: Tho­mas B. Mur­ray, Lays of Christ­mas (Lon­don: Fran­cis & John Riv­ing­ton, 1847), num­ber 1.

Music: Lax­ey T. Ack­royd, in Christ­mas Min­strel­sy, by Jo­seph Will­iams (Lon­don & Man­ches­ter, Eng­land: No­vel­lo & Brem­ner, 1864), num­ber 9 (🔊 pdf nwc).

If you know where to get a good pic­ture of Mur­ray or Ack­royd (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),


Christmas Carols New and Old, 1871

On Ju­dah’s hills a low­ly band
Their flocks in safe­ty kept:
Their folds they penned with care­ful hand,
And watched while oth­ers slept.

No help­less sheep was seen to stray,
No ra­ven­ing wolf was nigh;
Their flee­cy charge se­cure­ly lay
Beneath the span­gled sky.

And were not these a faith­ful few
Of Ab­raham’s stock in­deed,
Who longed, with faith­ful hearts and true,
For Da­vid’s pro­mised seed?

Their thoughts, per­chance, were fixed on One
Whom pro­phets had fore­told;
Him, who should bring each wan­der­ing son
Within the Shep­herd’s fold;

The Lord, who loves His flock to feed,
To guard from strange alarms,
In ten­der grass His lambs to lead,
Or bear them in His arms:

Who calls His sheep, that know His voice,
To seek with one ac­cord
The liv­ing wa­ters that re­joice
The ci­ty of the Lord.

O hap­py shep­herds! blest were they,
When from the Fa­ther’s throne
Angelic hosts in bright ar­ray
Brought news of mer­cy down.

Thus first to men of hum­ble birth
Were told the won­drous things,
Which bowed the id­ols of the earth,
And checked the pride of kings.

In daily duty’s con­stant round,
And works of trust and care,
Thus, like the shep­herds, faith­ful found,
May we their bless­ing share.