We begin our Christmas Hymnary this Sunday, and it will follow for each Sunday leading up to Christmas. The first entry in this series is a marvelous text written by Hannah More:
O how wondrous is the story
Of our blest Redeemer’s birth!
See, the mighty Lord of glory
Leaves his heaven to visit earth.
Hear with transport, every creature,
Hear the gospel’s joyful sound:
Christ appears in human nature,
In our sinful world is found!
Comes to pardon our transgression,
Like a cloud our sins to blot;
Comes to his own favored nation,
But his own receive him not.
If the angels who attended
To declare the Saviour’s birth,
Who from heaven with songs descended,
To proclaim good will on earth;
If, in pity to our blindness,
_They_ had brought the pardon needed;
Still, Jehovah’s wondrous kindness
Had our warmest hopes exceeded!
If some prophet had been sent
With salvation’s joyful news,
Who that heard the blest event
Could their warmest love refuse?
But ’twas He to whom in heaven
Hallelujahs never cease;
He, the mighty God, was given–
Given to us a Prince of peace.
None but he who did create us,
Could redeem from sin and hell;
None but he could reinstate us
In the rank from which we fell.
Had he come, the glorious stranger,
Decked with all the world calls great–
Had he lived in pomp and grandeur,
Crowned with more than royal state–
Still, our tongues, with praise o’erflowing,
On such boundless love would dwell–
Still, our hearts, with rapture glowing,
Speak what words could never tell.
But what wonder should it raise,
Thus our lowest state to borrow!
O the high mysterious ways–
God’s own Son a child of sorrow!
‘Twas to bring us endless pleasure,
He our suffering nature bore;
‘Twas to give us heavenly treasure,
He was willing to be poor.
Come, ye rich, survey the stable
Where your infant Saviour lies;
From your full, o’erflowing table,
Send the hungry good supplies.
Boast not your ennobled stations,
Boast not that you’re highly fed;
Jesus, hear it all ye nations,
Had not where to lay his head.
Learn of me, thus cries the Saviour,
If my kingdom you’d inherit:
Sinner, quit your proud behavior;
Learn my meek and lowly spirit.
Come, ye servants, see your station
Free from all reproach and shame;
He who purchased your salvation,
Bore a servant’s humble name.
Come, ye poor, some comfort gather,
Faint not in the race you run;
Hard the lot your gracious Father
Gave his dear, his only Son.
Think, that if your humble stations
Less of worldly food bestow,
You escape those strong temptations
Which from wealth and grandeur flow
See, your Saviour is ascended;
See, he looks with pity down:
Trust him, all will soon be mended;
Bear his cross, you’ll share his crown.