The First Christmas Night

Representative Text

1 There was silence in Bethlehem’s fields that night,
Where the shepherds were keeping their sheep;
And the stars calmly shone from their beautiful height,
While the flocks on the hills lay asleep;
Lo, the quiet that fell
In that holy, mysterious hour
Spoke of promise fulfilled, and of hope now revived
That for years had been robbed of her power.

2 How dreary the ages of strife passed away,
Since this marvelous night was foretold;
How still the deep quiet that reigns ere the day,
And the midnight so lonely and cold.
Love descended to earth,
Where sheep on the hills lay asleep;
Then an angel spoke out of the wonderful birth—
That we no more need sorrow or weep.

3 Then suddenly came to the angel most bright
All the host of the heavenly choir,
And a glory broke forth far more dazzling to sight
Than the sun in its bright noonday fire;
Now the silence is o’er,
The promise no longer deferred,
The angels sang out, and the shepherds looked up:
Good tidings from Heaven they heard.

Source: The Cyber Hymnal #8660

Author: W. Chatterton Dix

Most British hymn writers in the nineteenth century were clergymen, but William C. Dix (b. Bristol, England, 1837; d. Cheddar, Somerset, England, 1898) was a notable exception. Trained in the business world, he became the manager of a marine insurance company in Glasgow, Scotland. Dix published various volumes of his hymns, such as Hymns of Love and Joy (1861) and Altar Songs: Verses on the Holy Eucharist (1867). A number of his texts were first published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861). Bert Polman… Go to person page >

Adapter: Richard W. Adams

Born: 1952, Mis­souri. Adams grad­u­at­ed from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Mis­sou­ri, Co­lum­bia (BA 1974, cum laude, Phi Be­ta Kap­pa). Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: There was silence in Bethlehem’s fields that night
Title: The First Christmas Night
Author: W. Chatterton Dix (1871)
Adapter: Richard W. Adams (2019)
Source: A Vision of All Saints (London: John Hodges, 1871)
Language: English
Copyright: Public Domain


The Cyber Hymnal #8660
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The Cyber Hymnal #8660

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