Our American Holidays - Christmas/A Christmas Hymn (Anonymous)

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For works with similar titles, see Christmas Hymn.

This poem by Dickinson is incorrectly cited as anonymous in this edition.


Written in the Chapel of the Manger, in the Convent
Church of Bethlehem, Palestine:

In the fields where, long ago,
   Dropping tears, amid the leaves,
Ruth's young feet went to and fro,
   Binding up the scattered sheaves,
In the field that heard the voice
   Of Judea's shepherd King,
Still the gleaners may rejoice,
   Still the reapers shout and sing.

For each mount and vale and plain
   Felt the touch of holier feet.
Then the gleaners of the grain
   Heard, in voices full and sweet,
"Peace on earth, good will to men,"
   Ring from angel lips afar,

While, o'er every glade and glen,
   Broke the light of Bethlehem's star

Star of hope to souls in night,
   Star of peace above our strife,
Guiding, where the gates of death
   Ope to fields of endless life.
Wanderer from the nightly throng
   Which the eastern heavens gem;
Guided, by an angel's song,
   To the Babe of Bethlehem.

Not Judea's hills alone
   Have earth's weary gleaners trod,
Not to heirs of David's throne
   Is it given to "reign with God."
But where'er on His green earth
   Heavenly faith and longing are,
Heavenly hope and life have birth,
   'Neath the smile of Bethlehem's star.

In each lowly heart or home,
   By each love-watched cradle-bed,
Where we rest, or where we roam,
   Still its changeless light is shed.
In its beams each quickened heart,
   Howe'er saddened or denied,
Keeps one little place apart
   For the Hebrew mother's Child.

And that inner temple fair
   May be holier ground than this,

Hallowed by the pilgrim's prayer,
   Warmed by many a pilgrim's kiss.
In its shadow still and dim,
   Where our holiest longings are,
Rings forever Bethlehem's hymn,
   Shines forever Bethlehem's star.