GENTLE MARY LAID HER CHILD                                               written in 1919

The Story

Joseph Cook (1859-1933) entered a Christmas carol-writing contest in 1919. He was not known as a poet, but he had some ideas he thought should be presented in a Christmas carol. Many of the Protestant carols seemed to neglect Mary, he thought, so he wrote a carol to give her proper honor.

After all, the angel had announced to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28), and Mary’s Magnificat, in Luke 1 is one of the most beautiful songs of the Bible. Joseph put the spotlight on the verse that says, “She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in snuggly strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them” (Luke 2:7).

By the way, Joseph Cook’s entry in that carol-writing contest… this song… won first prize.

The Song

Read this Christmas hymn, and – today – imagine being there by that manger to witness the birth of Jesus.

Gentle Mary laid her Child… lowly in a manger;
there He lay, the undefiled, to the world a stranger:
such a Babe in such a place… can He be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race Who have found His favor.

Angels sang about His birth; wise men sought and found Him;
Heaven’s star shone brightly forth, glory all around Him:
shepherds saw the wondrous sight, heard the angels singing;
all the plains were lit that night, all the hills were ringing.

Gentle Mary laid her Child… lowly in a manger;
He is still the undefiled, but no more a stranger:
Son of God, of humble birth, beautiful the story;
praise His name in all the earth, hail the King of glory!

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