A stranger star o’er Bethlehem
A Christmas Idyl
1. A stranger star o’er BethlehemShot down its silver rayWhere, cradled in a manger’s fold,A sleeping infant lay.Whilst, guided by that finger bright,The Orient sages bringRare gifts of myrrh and frankincenseTo hail the new-born King.
2. Oh wondrous grace! Will Gods go downThus low that men may rise?Imprisoned here that Mighty OneWho reigned in yonder skies?E’en so. Time’s trusty horologeNow chimes the hour of Noon—A dying world is welcomingThe Godhead’s gracious boon.
3. He wandered through the faithless world,A Prince in shepherd’s guise;He called his scattered flock, but fewThe Voice would recognize;For minds upborne by hollow pride,Or dimmed by sordid lust,Ne’er look for kings in beggar’s garb—For diamonds in the dust.
4. He wept o’er doomed Jerusalem,Her temples, walls and towers;O’er palaces where recreant priestsUsurped unhallowed powers.“I am the Way of Life and Light!”Alas! ’twas heeded not—Ignored Salvation’s message, spurnedThe wondrous truths He taught.
5. O bane of damning unbelief!Thou source of lasting strife!Thou stumbling-stone, thou barrier ’thwartThe gates of Endless Life!O love of self and Mammon’s lust!Twin portals to Despair—Where Bigotry, the blinded bat,Flaps through the midnight air!
6. Through these, gloom-wrapt Gethsemane!Thy glens of guilty shadeWept o’er the sinless Son of God,By gold-bought kiss betrayed;Beheld him unresisting dragged—Forsaken, friendless, lone,To halls where dark-browed Hatred satOn Judgment’s lofty throne.
7. As sheep before His shearers, dumb,Those patient lips were mute;The clamorous charge of taunting tonguesHe deigned not to dispute.They smote with cruel palm His face—Which felt, but scorned the sting—They crowned with thorns His quivering brow,Then, mocking, hailed Him “King!”
8. On Calvary’s hill they crucifiedThe God whom worlds adore!“Father, forgive them!”—Drained the dregs—Immanuel was no more.No more where thunders rocked the earth,Where lightnings, ’thwart the gloom,Saw that unconquered Spirit spurnThe shackles of the tomb!
9. Far flashing on its wings of light—A falchion from its sheath—It cleft the realms of Darkness, andDissolved the bands of Death.Hell’s dungeons burst! Wide open swungThe everlasting bars,Whereby the ransomed soul shall winThose heights beyond the stars.