Though famed in Israel's royal history,
Bethlehem would that past excel
when God revealed a greater mystery,
the Word made flesh, Emmanuel:
through Mary born from David's line,
a Savior human and divine.
Who would expect a humble manger
to cradle such a holy birth?
How could flesh clothe the stars' arranger
or sheathe the hands that formed the earth?
God's ways confound the worldly wise,
disarm the sure with bright surprise.
All we recall of gain or glory
can scarce predict what still may be;
God is the Author of our story,
whose will is sovereign, boundless, free:
yet living in this time and place
we can be vessels of God's grace.
Kindle, O God, your gifts within us,
stir up our faith, renew our nerve.
When tempting powers seek to win us,
help us remember whom we serve:
transform our lives and build in them
a new and willing Bethlehem.