A Christmas Hymn
Source: Christmas: Its Origin, Celebration and Significance as Related in Prose and Verse - Robert Haven Schauffler (1907)
Written in the Chapel of the Manger, in the Convent Church of Bethlehem, Palestine
In the fields where, long ago,
Dropping tears, amid the leaves,
Ruth's young feet went to and fro,
Binding up the scattered sheaves,
In the field that heard the voice
Of Judea's shepherd King,
Still the gleaners may rejoice,
Still the reapers shout and sing.
For each mount and vale and plain
Felt the touch of holier feet.
Then the gleaners of the grain
Heard, in voices full and sweet,
"Peace on earth, good will to men,"
Ring from angel lips afar,
While, o'er every glade and glen,
Broke the light of Bethlehem's star.
Star of hope to souls in night,
Star of peace above our strife,
Guiding, where the gates of death
Ope to fields of endless life.
Wanderer from the nightly throng
Which the eastern heavens gem;
Guided, by an angel's song,
To the Babe of Bethlehem.
Not Judea's hills alone
Have earth's weary gleaners trod,
Not to heirs of David's throne
Is it given to "reign with God."
But where'er on His green earth
Heavenly faith and longing are,
Heavenly hope and life have birth,
'Neath the smile of Bethlehem's star.
In each lowly heart or home,
By each love-watched cradle-bed,
Where we rest, or where we roam,
Still its changeless light is shed.
In its beams each quickened heart,
Howe'er saddened or denied,
Keeps one little place apart
For the Hebrew mother's Child.
And that inner temple fair
May be holier ground than this,
Hallowed by the pilgrim's prayer,
Warmed by many a pilgrim's kiss.
In its shadow still and dim,
Where our holiest longings are,
Rings forever Bethlehem's hymn,
Shines forever Bethlehem's star.
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