This is day 7 of “The 12 Days Leading to Christmas.” Each day I am highlighting a Christmas hymn that is worth our listening to as Christians this Christmas season. You can read more about the goal of the series here.
Today I highlight for you “Wexford Carol.” This carol originated in Ireland possibly as early as the 12th century! If that is the case, Christians have been singing a version of this carol for nearly 800 years. “Wexford Carol” is truly a folk hymn. The people of the British Isles sang it regularly but it was transcribed by the British man William Graton Flood and later put into “The Oxford Book of Carols” in 1928.
The hymn is one of the most simple and beautiful tellings of the Christmas story you will find. Read the poetry and you can see that this was the kind story told in Irish and British countryside homes in December. The lyrics below include some verses that are not always sung in various arrangements. They are all great in their own right!
Here are the lyrics:
Good people all, this Christmas time,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending His belovèd Son.
With Mary holy we should pray
To God with love this Christmas Day;
In Bethlehem upon the morn
There was a blest Messiah born.
The night before that happy tide
The noble virgin and her guide
Were long time seeking up and down
To find a lodging in the town.
But mark how all things came to pass:
From every door repelled, alas!
As long foretold, their refuge all
Was but a humble oxen stall.
Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep;
To whom God’s angels did appear
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
Prepare and go, the angels said,
To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
For there you’ll find, this happy morn,
A princely babe, sweet Jesus born.
With thankful heart and joyful mind,
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God’s angel has foretold,
They did our Savior Christ behold.
Within a manger He was laid,
And by His side the virgin maid
Attending to the Lord of Life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.
There were three wise men from afar
Directed by a glorious star
And on they wandered night and day
Until they came where Jesus lay
And when they came unto that place
Where our beloved Messiah lay
They humbly cast them at His feet
With gifts of gold and incense sweet.
Have a listen:
Choral Arrangement (Sorry! I can only find this one on Youtube…it’s worth the listen!)