The scene arround me disappears,
And, borne to ancient regions,
While Time recals the flight of years,
I see angelic legions
Descending in an orb of light,
Amidst the dark and silent night;
I hear celestial voices.
"Tidings, glad tidings from above
To every age and nation;
Tidings, glad tidings,--God is love,
To man He sends salvation:
His Son beloved, His only Son,
The work of mercy hath begun;
Give to his name the glory."
Through David's city I am led;
Here all around are sleeping;
A light directs to yon poor shed,
There lonely watch is keeping:
I enter;--ah! what glories shine!
Is this Immanuel's earthly shrine?
Messiah's infant temple?
It is, it is; and I adore
This Stranger meek and lowly,
As saints and seraphs bow before
The throne of God thrice holy:
Faith through the veil of flesh can see
The face of thy Divinity,
My Lord, my God, my Saviour!
James Montgomery (b. Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland, 1771; d. Sheffield, Yorkshire, England, 1854), the son of Moravian parents who died on a West Indies mission field while he was in boarding school, Montgomery inherited a strong religious bent, a passion for missions, and an independent mind. He was editor of the Sheffield Iris (1796-1827), a newspaper that sometimes espoused radical causes. Montgomery was imprisoned briefly when he printed a song that celebrated the fall of the Bastille and again when he described a riot in Sheffield that reflected unfavorably on a military commander. He also protested against slavery, the lot of boy chimney sweeps, and lotteries. Associated with Christians of various persuasions, Montgomery supported missio… Go to person page >
The scene around me disappears. J. Montgomery. [Christmas.] Published in his Christian Psalmist, 1825, No. 488, in 4 stanzas of 7 lines, and headed, "A visit to Bethlehem in Spirit; and repeated, without alteration, in his Original Hymns, 1853, No. 52. In Holy Song for All Seasons (Bell & Daldy), 1869, it begins "Fair Bethlehem's star again appears." It is limited in use.
--John Julian, Dictionary of Hymnology (1907)