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 Saviour holy.
And through all His wondrous childhood
He would honour and obey,
Love, and watch the lowly mother
In whose gentle arms He lay:
Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He.
For He 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 feeleth for our sadness,
And He shareth in 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 Alexander, 1818-95