December 16. “Once in Royal David’s City” - Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895)
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 s...helter was a stable, And His cradle was a stall.
With the poor, and mean, and lowly Lived on earth, our Savior holy.
And through all His wondrous childhood He would honor 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 ear and gentle Is our Lord in heav’n above;
And He leads His children on To the place where He is gone.
Not in that poor lowly stable, With the oxen standing round,
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 Alexander wrote a series of hymns to teach children about the Apostles’ Creed. “All Things Bright and Beautiful” illustrated the first phrase of the Creed, about God the Father, “maker of heaven and earth.” This hymn teaches about the phrase “conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.” Later, “There Is a Green Hill Far Away” was written for “suffered under Pontius Pilate…” Alexander had a knack for taking major biblical themes and boiling them down into four or six easy-to-understand lines.
She also had a heart for the “poor, and mean, and lowly.” She regularly visited the sick in the parish where her husband was pastor. She especially tended to the children.