Advent devotion: Once in Royal David’s City
One of my favorite Christmas carols is Once in Royal David’s City. Whenever the music begins and I hear the soprano solo during the first verse, I get overwhelmed by the sacredness that is Christmas. Every time I sing this song, it evokes my memories of the times I sang the first verse with a friend in my home congregation and memories of my college choir days. I treasure the words to this song, a melodic description of God coming to earth to live among us.
1 Once in royal David’s city
stood a lowly cattle shed,
where a mother laid her baby
in a manger for his bed:
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ, her little child.
2 He came down to earth from heaven
who is God and Lord of all,
and his shelter was a stable,
and his cradle was a stall:
with the poor and meek and lowly,
lived on earth our Savior holy.
3 And our eyes at last shall see him,
through his own redeeming love;
for that child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heav’n above:
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.
4 Not in that poor lowly stable
with the oxen standing by,
we shall see him; but in heaven,
set at God’s right hand on high;
there his children gather round,
bright like stars, with glory crowned.
To you and yours, merry Christmas, as we celebrate God’s redeeming love.
Liesebet Gravley is a pastor-in-residency at St. Paul. She lives in Davenport with her beloved pets.