John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

Advent 2009: Once in Royal David's City

Here's one of my favorite Christmas carols. This version is from the Presbyterian Hymnal; the original poem, originally published in 1848 and set to music a year later, has two additional verses. Sufjan Stevens recorded a fun version of this hymn for his 2002 Christmas EP Hark! Songs for Christmas, Vol. II. (And he recorded it again for his 2005 EP, but I don't like that version as much, and in any event it's not on YouTube.)

ETA: I see that I neglected to cut that fifth verse. So this isn't the version from the Presbyterian Hymnal after all (which does not include the fifth verse below) but rather the version from the Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary. But hey, the ELCA is in full communion with the Presbyterian Church (USA), so close enough.

Once in Royal David's City

Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her Baby
In a manger for His bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little Child.

He came down to earth from heaven,
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And His cradle was a stall;
With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

Jesus is our childhood's pattern;
Day by day, like us He grew;
He was little, weak and helpless,
Tears and smiles like us He knew;
And He feels for all our sadness,
And He shares in all our gladness.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that Child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heaven above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see him; but in heaven,
Set at God's right hand on high;
When like stars his children crowned,
All in white shall wait around.

Cecil Frances Humphreys Alexander (1818–1895)

Previous Advent posts:

2003: Shepherd
2004: Christmas Belles
2005: Christmas Wishes
2006: Xmas
2007: Unexpected Christmas Treats
2008: Valley Winter Song

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Tags: poet's corner

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