1 As with gladness men of old
did the guiding star behold,
as with joy they hailed its light,
leading onward, beaming bright;
so, most gracious Lord, may we
evermore your splendor see.
2 As with joyful steps they sped
to that lowly manger bed,
there to bend the knee before
Christ, whom heaven and earth adore;
so may we with willing feet
ever seek your mercy seat.
3 As they offered gifts most rare
at that manger plain and bare,
so may we with holy joy,
pure and free from sin’s alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to you, our heavenly King.
4 Holy Jesus, every day
keep us in the narrow way,
and when mortal things are past,
bring our ransomed lives at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds your glory hide.
5 In that glorious city bright
none shall need created light;
you its light, its joy, its crown,
you its sun which goes not down;
there forever may we sing
alleluias to our King!
Taking Matthew 1: 1-11 as his theme for stanzas 1-3, William C. Dix likens the journey of the wise men who came to worship the Christ to our own Christian pilgrimage. The pattern of these stanzas is "as they … so may we." Stanzas 4 and 5 are a prayer that our journey on the "narrow way" may bring us finally to glory where Christ is the light (Rev. 21:23) and where we may perfectly sing his praise.
This text by William C. Dix, an insurance executive, was inspired by the Epiphany gospel of Matthew 1:1-11. He offers the pattern “as the wise men – so may we,” and ultimately invites us to finish our journey in the “glory where Christ is the light.”