The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Scene Around Me Disappears

Alternate Title: The Vision of Peace

For Christmas

Words: James Montgomery, 1825

Music: Unknown
Meter: 87 87 888

Source: James Montgomery, The Christian Psalmist, or, Hymns, Selected and Original (William Collins, 1832), No. 488, pp. 402-403.

A Visit to Bethlehem in Spirit

1. The scene around me disappears,
   And, borne to ancient regions,
While Time recalls the flight of years,
   I see angelic legions
Descending in an orb of light,
Amidst the dark and silent night;
I hear celestial voices.

2. "Tidings, glad tidings from above,
   To every age and nation;
Tidings, glad tidings, God is love:
   To man He sends salvation:
His Son beloved, His only Son,
The work of mercy hath begun;
Give to his name the glory."

3. Through David's city I am led;
   Here all around are sleeping;
A light directs to yon poor shed,
   Where lonely watch is keeping:
I enter; ah! what glories shine!
Is this Immanuel's earthly shrine?
Messiah's infant temple?

4. It is, it is; and I adore
   This Stranger meek and lowly,
As saints and seraphs bow before
   The throne of God thrice holy:
Faith through the vail of flesh can see
The face of thy Divinity,
My Lord, my God, my Saviour!

Note from John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)

The scene around me disappears. J. Montgomery. [Christmas.] Published in his Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 488, in 4 stanzas of 7 lines, and headed, "A visit to Bethlehem in Spirit; and repeated, without alteration, in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 52. In Holy Song for All Seasons (Bell & Daldy), 1869, it begins "Fair Bethlehem's star again appears." It is limited in use.

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