Sheep of the Judean hills give meat,

skins and wool for raiment, tents—

cover from storm, shelter from heat.

In fields of Bethlehem where David slew

lion, bear, and fed his father’s sheep,

temple flocks now safely graze.

Those who watch have been well taught

that in the shadow of a distant Eden

firstlings offered hope. They know how

God spared birthright son of Abraham,

provided sacrificial ram for

grass-kindled flame, stone-tabled meal.

Remembering that death

passed over Israel’s house

because of unblemished blood,

these know the altar-end

of tender ones they nurture, name,

and carry in their bosoms.

For solemn feasts they gently lead

the young into Jerusalem

so sin-stained robes may be washed

white as the glory of the Lord,

so peace may be complete.

Tonight with faith they haste to find

a Savior and a certain sign—

Christ the future sacrifice—

swaddled, as the angel said,

in wool-soft bands

and lying in a manger.

These are they prepared

to spread the word abroad:

This day is born the Lamb of God.