1 There was silence in Bethlehem’s fields that night,
Where the shepherds were keeping their sheep;
And the stars calmly shone from their beautiful height,
While the flocks on the hills lay asleep;
Lo, the quiet that fell
In that holy, mysterious hour
Spoke of promise fulfilled, and of hope now revived
That for years had been robbed of her power.
2 How dreary the ages of strife passed away,
Since this marvelous night was foretold;
How still the deep quiet that reigns ere the day,
And the midnight so lonely and cold.
Love descended to earth,
Where sheep on the hills lay asleep;
Then an angel spoke out of the wonderful birth—
That we no more need sorrow or weep.
3 Then suddenly came to the angel most bright
All the host of the heavenly choir,
And a glory broke forth far more dazzling to sight
Than the sun in its bright noonday fire;
Now the silence is o’er,
The promise no longer deferred,
The angels sang out, and the shepherds looked up:
Good tidings from Heaven they heard.
Most British hymn writers in the nineteenth century were clergymen, but William C. Dix (b. Bristol, England, 1837; d. Cheddar, Somerset, England, 1898) was a notable exception. Trained in the business world, he became the manager of a marine insurance company in Glasgow, Scotland. Dix published various volumes of his hymns, such as Hymns of Love and Joy (1861) and Altar Songs: Verses on the Holy Eucharist (1867). A number of his texts were first published in Hymns Ancient and Modern (1861).
Bert Polman… Go to person page >
Adapter: Richard W. Adams
Born: 1952, Missouri.
Adams graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia (BA 1974, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa). Go to person page >
Display Title: The First Christmas NightFirst Line: There was silence in Bethlehem’s fields that nightTune Title: [There was silence in Bethlehem’s fields that night]Author: William C. Dix; Richard W. AdamsSource: A Vision of All Saints (London: John Hodges, 1871)