There was a night long ago
In which a babe was born,
And laid into a manger bare
A stable with the beasts to share,
And as he lay there, weak and frail–
A helpless child seemed he.
There shone a star in that sky
As radiant as the Sun,
A sentinel, an angel bright,
Which stood on high to guard that night
A baby weak and young.
On a hillside close at hand he saw
A shady grove of trees:
From one he saw an acorn drop,
He saw it die, like the grain of wheat
That dies and brings forth life.
He joined the celestial song of praise,
Looked abroad and saw
Three old men he with face upturned
Wondering what this might portend,
This star, this midnight sun.
These men he saw journey forth
Over many weary miles;
Till they reached a palace cold
And set aflame a jealous fool
Who called himself a king.
The hours grew old and passed away,
Passing years took rest,
In age and stature grew the twain––
The oak stretched to the sky,
The child became a man.
But here begins the seeming end,
The child is bound with chains,
The tree cut down with a blade of steel,
Stripped of its bark, of limbs shorn,
From its flesh two beams were born,
To satisfy man’s scorn.
The man was bound by fetters strong
And dragged before a throng.
He was judged by hate, doomed to die;
Upon a tree crucified
By men that very day.
The beams were joined and on him laid
And thus began the march of pain
To Calvary’s hill and bitter shame.
When they reached the fateful place
They nailed him to the tree
And hung him high as a disgrace,
A blot upon this sad world’s face
From noon till stroke of three.
‘It is finished.’ He cried in a loud voice
In thunderous crash the earth replied
And marked the moment our Savior died.
And at that moment, from gloomy Hell
A horde of souls went free,
Free to roam the hallowed earth,
Hallowed by a new life’s birth
Amid death’s misery.
Let us remember this Christmastide
The man who for us died,
And spread these words far and wide,
Words of truth: God has died.
But where’er these words are sprung
Let others added be:
From death comes life, like risen grain
His death is our greatest gain.
Although within a grave he’s lain,
Now he’s risen free.