Scripture Verse

Good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. Luke 2:10


John R. Macduff (1818–1895)

Words: John R. Mac­duff, Al­tar Stones (Lon­don: James Nis­bet, 1853), pag­es 6–7.

Music: Holl­ing­side John B. Dykes, 1861 (🔊 pdf nwc).

John B. Dykes (1823–1876)


What are these ethereal strains
Floating o’er Judea’s plains?
Burning spirits through the sky,
With their lofty minstrelsy!
Hark! they break the midnight trance
With the joyous utterance,
Glory to God, and peace to men,
Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Quench, ye types, your feeble ray,
Shadows, ye may melt away!
Prophecy, your work is done;
Gospel ages have begun!
Temple! quench your altar fires,
For these radiant angel choirs
To a ruined world pro­claim—
Christ is born in Bethlehem!

Pillowed is His infant head
On a borrowed manger bed!
He around whose throne above
Angels hymned their songs of love,
Now is wrapped by virgin hands
In earth’s meanest swaddling bands;
Once adored by seraphim,
Now a Babe of Bethlehem!

Eastern sages from afar,
Guided by a mystic star,
Followed, till its luster mild
Brought them to the heav’nly Child.
May each providence to me
Like a guiding meteor be,
Bringing nearer unto Him,
Once the Babe of Bethlehem!