A Christmas Hymn

A poem by John Charles McNeill

Near where the shepherds watched by night
And heard the angels o'er them,
The wise men saw the starry light
Stand still at last before them.
No armored castle there to ward
His precious life from danger,
But, wrapped in common cloth, our Lord
Lay in a lowly manger.
No booming bells proclaimed his birth,
No armies marshalled by,
No iron thunders shook the earth,
No rockets clomb the sky;
The temples builded in his name
Were shapeless granite then,
And all the choirs that sang his fame
Were later breeds of men.
But, while the world about him slept,
Nor cared that he was born,
One gentle face above him kept
Its mother watch till morn;
And, if his baby eyes could tell
What grace and glory were,
No roar of gun, no boom of bell
Were worth the look of her.
Now praise to God that ere his grace
Was scorned and he reviled
He looked into his mother's face,
A little helpless child;
And praise to God that ere men strove
About his tomb in war
One loved him with a mother's love,
Nor knew a creed therefor.

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