There were in the same country 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: and they were sore afraid. And 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 Savior, who is Christ the Lord.@Luke 2:8-11
portrait
Franz J. Haydn (1732-1809)

Reportedly published in The Union Minstrel, by Thomas Hastings, 1834. The text below is from Hastings’ Christian Psalmist (New York: Ezra Collier, 1836), page 266, where the author is given as anonymous.

Queensborough, arranged from Franz J. Haydn (1732-1809) (🔊 pdf nwc).

illustration
Adoration of the Shepherds
Gerard van Honthorst (1590-1656)

Shepherds, hail the wondrous stranger!
Now to Bethl’em speed your way;
Lo! in yonder humble manger,
Christ the Lord is born today.

Christ, by prophets long predicted,
Joy of Israel’s chosen race;
Light to Gentiles long afflicted,
Lost in error’s darkest maze.

Bright the star of your salvation,
Pointing to His rude abode!
Rapturous news for every nation—
Mortals, now behold your God!

Glad we trace th’amazing story,
Angels leave their bliss to tell;
Theme sublime, replete with glory,
Sinners saved from death and hell.

Love eternal moved the Savior,
Thus to lay His radiance by;
Blessings to the Lamb for ever,
Glory be to God on high.