Gently fading stars,
a humble bed of hay
a brand-new birth,
the beginning of eternal life.
A mother, sweetly singing,
cradles the hope and light,
the happiness of all men.
Her countenance glows
with the radiance of one who
has brought to the world life.
Softly lowing cattle and
fleecy, cloudy lamb,
stillness awakening the world
as the angels
A Savior is born.

[illustration] Eighteenth-century Italian painting courtesy of the Museum of Church History and Art