“A #Christmas Hymn” for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

On this fourth Sunday of Advent, I could write something original, something of all I’ve been reading and pondering lately.

But I suspect that, three days before Christmas, you are either (A) still frantically trying to get things done, or (B) just beginning, like me, to really enjoy the season. After a week rich in blog content and variety, thanks to my brother, JTR, you don’t need anything long or weighty today.

So here, instead, is my very favorite Christmas poem of all time. (Not that it’s fluff! Far from it. But good poetry has a simple sense of inevitability which gets inside without fanfare.)  One year our family (myself, husband and both sons) memorized it to recite for gathered family on Christmas Day. I wish we’d done more things like that during Advent.

This poem has stuck with me. Although I hadn’t recited it in years, it came back to me easily when I spoke it for a friend’s grandfather at an informal Christmas concert. I invite you to take your time and read it aloud…or perhaps come back and read it on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.


A Christmas Hymn

(Luke 19:37-40)

oil lamp

A stable lamp is lighted
Whose glow shall wake the sky;

The stars shall bend their voices,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
And straw like gold shall shine.

A barn shall harbor heaven,
A stall become a shrine.

Palm branch

This child through David’s city
Shall ride in triumph by.

The palm shall strew its branches,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
Though heavy, dull and dumb,

And lie within the roadway
To pave His kingdom come.


Yet He shall be forsaken,
And yielded up to die.

The sky shall groan and darken,
And every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
For stony hearts of men:

God’s blood upon the spearhead,
God’s love refused, again.


Yet now, as at the ending,
The low is lifted high.

The stars shall bend their voices
And every stone shall cry.

And every stone shall cry
In praises of the Child

By Whose descent among us
The worlds are reconciled.

Richard Wilbur
(b. 1921, two-time Pulitzer Prize winning American poet. The link in his name is to a very short video in which he talks about this poem.)

first christmas

7 responses to ““A #Christmas Hymn” for the Fourth Sunday in Advent

  1. Richard M Nixon (Deceased)

    Reblogged this on Dead Citizen's Rights Society.

  2. I added a cross to my Christmas outdoor nativity. It’s not by the nativity scene, but a little ways off. It just seemed right.
    Loved the poem.

  3. Another keeper for our family Advent time. I may follow your example and have #2 son recite for family on Christmas Eve.

  4. A very merry and blessed Christmas to you and all your readers.

  5. Merry Christmas to you and yours– wishing you much health and happiness over the holidays and through the New Year!

    • A Merry and Blessed Christmas, Kristina!

      We’re watching Bing and Danny Kate in “White Christmas”: my boys have never seen it.
      Although, “Holiday Inn” is a favorite of theirs. So far, they still prefer it to WC.

      **Trivia: did you know they reworked the HI set for WC?

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