The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

How far is it to Bethlehem?

Words: Frances Chesterton

Source: Anne Thaxter Eaton, ed., Welcome Christmas! A Garland Of Poems. New York: The Viking Press, 1955.

How far is it to Bethlehem?
    Not very far.
Shall we find the stable-room
    Lit by a star?

Can we see the little Child?
    Is He within?
If we lift the wooden latch,
    May we go in?

May we stroke the creatures there
    Ox, ass, or sheep?
May we peep like them and see
    Jesus asleep?

If we touch His tiny hand,
    Will He awake?
Will He know we've come so far
    Just for His sake?

Great kings have precious gifts,
    And we have naught;
Little smiles and little tears
    Are all we brought.

For all weary children
    Mary must weep;
Here, on His bed of straw,
    Sleep, children, sleep.

God, in His mother's arms,
    Babes in the byre,
Sleep, as they sleep who find
    Their heart's desire.

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