The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Day

Words: John Byrom (1692-1763)

Christians, awake! salute the happy Morn
Whereon the Saviour of the World was born
Rise to adore the Mystery of Love
Which Hosts of Angels chanted from above

With them the joyful Tidings first begun
Of God incarnate and the Virgins Son
Then to the watchful Shepherds it was told
Who heard the Angelic Herald's Voice, behold!

I bring good Tidings of a Saviours Birth,
To you and all the Nations of the Earth:
This day hath God fulfill'd his promised Word;
This day is born a Saviour, Christ (?) the Lord

In David City, Shepherds, ye shall find
The long-foretold redeemer of Mankind
Wrapt up in swaddling cloaths, be this the sign
A Cratch contains the holy Babe divine

He spake, and straightway the celestial Quire
In Hymns of Joy unknown before conspire
The Praises of redeeming love they sang
And Heaven's whole Orb with hallelujahs rang

God's Highest Glory was their anthem still (?)
Peace upon Earth, and mutual Good Will
To Bethlehem straight th'enlighten'd Shepherds ran
To see the wonder God had wrought for Man

They saw their Saviour as the Angel said
The Swaddled Infant in the Manger laid
Joseph & Mary a distressed pair
Guard the sold object of th'almighty's Care (?)

To human eyes none present but they two
Where Heav'n was pointing its concentrated View
Amaz'd the wondrous Story proclaim
The first apostles of his Infant Fame

But Mary kept and pondered in her Heart
The heavenly Vision which the Swains impart.
They to their Flocks and praising God return
With Hearts no doubt (?) did within them burn

Let us like these good Shepherds then employ
Our grateful Voices to proclaim the Joy
Like Mary let us ponder in our Mind
God's wondrous Love in saving lost Mankind

Artless an watchful as these favour'd Swains
While Virgin Meekness in the Heart remains,
Trace we the Babe that has retriev'd our Loss
From his poor Manger to his bitter cross

Follow we him who has our Cause maintain'd
And Man's first heav'nly state shall be regain'd

Editor's Note:

Question marks are my own, where I am uncertain of the text. The original is in 46 lines, with few obvious breaks. I have divided the text into four line verses, for ease of reading.

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