Joyfully the hours were speeding,
And the children, all unheeding
Flitted gaily to and fro,
At the farmhouse making merry,
Hanging sprays of holly berry
And the magic mistletoe.
Dear old Grandma, meanwhile sitting
In the firelight with her knitting.
Sometimes joining in their glee,
Spoke at last in gentle measure
And they came with smiles of pleasure
To their places at her knee.
"Come, my dears, and 'round me gather
For without is wintry weather,
But within is warmth and cheer.
Lay aside your pastimes yonder
And the Old, Old Story ponder,
As the Christmastide draws near.
"Long ago, in bygone ages,
Oft we read from sacred pages,
Shepherds watched their flocks by night,
When a beauteous angel found them,
And his glory shone around them,
Till they trembled with affright.
"But he said,'O Shepherds, hear me!
Do not flee, but come ye near me,
Goodly tidings do I bring.
List ye to the wondrous story,
Christ, the Lord of light and glory,
Unto you is born, a King.
"'Have ye, then, no thought of danger,
Ye shall find him in a manger
Near the inn of Bethlehem.'
And e're he had ceased the story,
Heavenly hosts were singing, 'Glory,
On earth peace, good will to men.'
"And you know, dears, how they sought Him,
And of gifts the wise men brought Him,
As they journeyed from afar,
Seeking for that Babe of Glory,
Never doubting once, the story,
Guided by a single star.
"And each year, all gloom dispelling,
Sweeter growing in the telling,
This old story, ever new,
Points to Bethlehem's star that brightly
Shines above to guide us rightly,
Shines, my dears, for me and you.
"When the Christmas bells are ringing
Our hearts' choicest tresures bringing,
Humbly may we offer then,
And with angels of the story
We may sing the songs of glory,
'Peace on earth, good will to men.'"