This Month's Theme

Carols
The Poetry of Christmas

A look at Christmas carols and hymns in a poetic light.


This Month's Featured "Poems"
"It Came Upon The Midnight Clear" by Edmund Hamilton Sears

"Hark! the Herald Angels Sing" by Charles Wesley
"Oh Little Town of Bethlehem" by Phillips Brooks

"Oh Holy Night (Cantique de NoŽl)" by Cappeau de Roquemaure (trans. by John S. Dwight)

"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Last month's theme: The Illusion of Success
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It Came Upon The Midnight Clear
by Edmund Hamilton Sears

It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
'Peace on the earth, good will to men,
from heaven's all-gracious King!'
The world in solemn stillness lay
to hear the angels sing.

Still through the cloven skies they come
with peaceful wings unfurled;
and still their heavenly music floats
o'er all the weary world;
above its sad and lowly plains
they bend on hovering wing,
and ever o'er its Babel sounds
the blessed angels sing.

But with the woes of sin and strife
the world has suffered long;
beneath the angel strain have rolled
two thousands years of wrong;
and man, at war with man, hears not
the love song which they bring;
O hush the noise, ye men of strife,
and hear the angels sing.

For, lo! the days are hastening on,
by prophet bards foretold,
when with the ever-circling years,
comes round the age of gold,
when peace shall over all the earth
its ancient splendours fling,
and the whole world give back the song
which now the angels sing.


Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
by Charles Wesley

Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King,
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled.
Joyful, all ye nations, rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim,
'Christ is born in Bethlehem'
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored,
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of the favored one.
Veiled in flesh, the Godhead see;
Hail, th' incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Hail, the heav'n-born Prince of peace!
Hail! The Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that man no more may die,
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
Glory to the newborn King.

Come, Desire of nations come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! the herald angels sing
"Glory to the newborn king!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled!"


Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
by Phillips Brooks

Oh little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by
Yet in the dark streets shineth, the everlasting light
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above
While mortals sleep the angels keep their watch of wondering love
Oh morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth.
And praises sing to God the king, and peace to men on earth.

How silently, how silently, the wondrous gift is given
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven
No ear may hear his coming, but in this world of sin
Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Oh holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us, our lord Emanuel.


Oh Holy Night (Cantique de NoŽl)
by Cappeau de Roquemaure
English translation by John S. Dwight

Oh holy night!
The stars are brightly shining
It is the night of the dear Savior's birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appear'd and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine

Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend.
Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother
And in His name all oppression shall cease
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Fall on your knees
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine
Oh night divine


I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And mild and sweet the words repeat,
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

I thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll'd along th' unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bow'd my head:
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good will to men."

'Til ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime,
Of peace on earth, good will to men!


Find other Chirstmas Songs at:

The Christmas Carol Lyrics Page

An Online Christmas Songbook (Has sheet music and audio)

Find other poems at:

Representative Poetry Online

The Poetry Archives

Creativity Web



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