Once in Bethlehem of Judah

Once in Bethlehem of Judah

Author: Cecil Frances Alexander
Published in 19 hymnals

Printable scores: PDF, MusicXML
Audio files: MIDI

Representative Text

1 Once in Bethlehem of Judah,
Far away across the sea,
There was laid a little Baby
On a Virgin Mother's knee.

O Saviour, gentle Saviour!
Hear Thy little children sing,
The God of our salvation,
The Child that is our King.

2 It was not a stately palace
Where that little Baby lay,
With His servants to attend Him,
And with guards to keep the way. [Refrain]

3 But the oxen stood around Him
In a stable, low and dim:
In the world He had created
There was not a room for Him!
O Saviour, gentle Saviour, &c.

4 For He left His Father's glory,
And the golden halls above,
And He took our human nature
In the greatness of His love. [Refrain]

5 Of His infinite compassion
He can feel our want and woe;
For He suffered, He was tempted,
When He lives our life below. [Refrain]

6 Still His childhood's bright example
Gives a light to our poor homes;
From the blood of His atoning
Still our hope of pardon comes. [Refrain]

7 Still He stands and pleads in heaven
For us, weak and sin defiled, -
God, who is a man for ever.
Jesus, who was once a Child! [Refrain]


Source: Voices of Praise: for school and church and home #52

Author: Cecil Frances Alexander

As a small girl, Cecil Frances Humphries (b. Redcross, County Wicklow, Ireland, 1818; Londonderry, Ireland, 1895) wrote poetry in her school's journal. In 1850 she married Rev. William Alexander, who later became the Anglican primate (chief bishop) of Ireland. She showed her concern for disadvantaged people by traveling many miles each day to visit the sick and the poor, providing food, warm clothes, and medical supplies. She and her sister also founded a school for the deaf. Alexander was strongly influenced by the Oxford Movement and by John Keble's Christian Year. Her first book of poetry, Verses for Seasons, was a "Christian Year" for children. She wrote hymns based on the Apostles' Creed, baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Ten Commandment… Go to person page >

Text Information

First Line: Once in Bethlehem of Judah
Author: Cecil Frances Alexander
Refrain First Line: O Savior, gentle Savior



The Cyber Hymnal #5198
  • Adobe Acrobat image (PDF)
  • Noteworthy Composer score (NWC)
  • XML score (XML)


Instances (1 - 19 of 19)
Page Scan

Gloria #288

Hymnal for Schools #d134

Hymns of the Centuries #d197

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Northfield Hymns for Young People #84

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The Church School Hymnal with Tunes #33


The Cyber Hymnal #5198

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The Epworth Hymnal No. 2 #71

The Hymnal for Schools #d134

The Institute Hymnal #d129

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The Packer Hymnal #75

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The Primary and Junior Hymnal #20

The Primary Sunday School Hymnal #d143

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The School Hymnal #59

The Sunday School Chorister #d63

The Sunday School Chorister #d74

The Sunday School Choristers #d55

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The Sunday-School Hymnal and Service Book (Ed. A) #222

TextPage Scan

Voices of Praise #52

Exclude 18 pre-1979 instances
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