Shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8
Words: Paul B. Henkel, Church Hymn Book (New Market, Virginia: Solomon Henkel, 1816), number 17, alt. Note: The 1816 edition of this hymnal does not name the author. Henkel’s son, Ambrose Henkel, identifies his father as the author by a double dagger symbol (‡) in the 1838 edition, page 43.
While shepherds kept their flocks by night,
An angel clothed with power and light,
Did to the shepherds there appear,
Which filled their minds with dread and fear.
But to their comfort thus he said,
“Dear shepherds, be ye not afraid:
I have a message unto you,
Exceeding joyful, great and true.
“This day is born in David’s town,
The mighty prince of great renown;
The Lord and Savior of mankind;
In Bethlehem ye shall Him find.
There He is in a manger laid,
And there to human view displayed;
He, who hath all at His commands,
Is there a babe in swathing bands.
Then did angelic host appear,
And shepherds songs of praise did hear:
All glory be to God on high!
Who brings to us salvation nigh.
O happy news sent down from Heav’n!
Since peace to man on earth is giv’n;
Good will from God to man shall be,
And blessings to eternity.