Sunday, November 25, 2012

While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night


What is my favorite Christmas carol?  I couldn't possibly pick just one, but if forced I would probably have to say "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night."  I must admit I love the tune, but I also love how it tells the whole Bible story of the shepherds without adding much to it.



While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night
by Nahum Tate, 1700

While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around,
And glory shone around.
Luke 2:8-9 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind.
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind
To you and all mankind.
Luke 2:10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;

“To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign,
And this shall be the sign.
Luke 2:11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

“The heavenly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid,
And in a manger laid.”
Luke 2:12 "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song,
Who thus addressed their song:
Luke 2:13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from Heaven to men
Begin and never cease,
Begin and never cease!”
Luke 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."

To finish the story:
Luke 2:15-20 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.

What's your favorite Christmas carol?  I love so many of them.  Is it tied to a special memory or does it contain a special thought about our Savior?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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