Shepherd's Song

by Diane Graebner

I

Young Samuel was a shepherd boy; his father's flock he'd keep,
Through mild Spring and summer, he wandered with the sheep.

Within his father's pastures, a careful watch he kept.
At night he sang in gentle voice as lamb and ewe all slept.

Each night he'd sing the lambs to sleep, as starlight shone o'erhead
He watched the young lambs sleeping, upon their grassy bed.

His brothers all were older, he was the youngest son,
They loved their brother dearly; of the lambs, their favored one.

They watched him as they watched the lambs, and kept from him all care.
Thru the spring and summer days, and nightime warm and fair.

They listened as he sang his song, his sweet voice drifted o'er
The fields and plains and mountaintops, o'er river, stream and moor:

Oh, Gentle lamb, the stars shine bright,
The moonlight glows above.
A shepherd watches o'er his sheep
And guards them with his love.
Know no fear of hawk or wolf,
Your life I will defend.
My watchful eye will keep you safe,
As you, my flock, I'll tend.

Top of page

II

It was his brothers' job to lead the flock to valleys far away
Over hill and dale and stream, where greener pastures lay.

Come the winter's icy chill, young Samuel's watch would end.
His older brothers, crook in hand, the flock they would defend.

"You're but a lad," his father's voice was stern but not unkind
"When you have reached your brothers' age, my flock with them you'll mind."

The brothers gathered up the sheep and led them on their way
To graze on greener pastures through winter's cold and grey.

Though in his mind he was a man, the flock he wished to lead;
The young lad was a faithful boy, so his father's word he'd heed.

But when the boy was ten years old, his soul could wait no longer
To join his brothers with the herd; with them he longed to wander.

Unseen he stole behind the flock, he did not hesitate.
His brothers would not notice him until it was too late.

"Oh foolish lad, what have you done?" They cried out to the child.
"You should not be this far from home, to wander mountains wild!"

"It is too late to turn back now, the flock you'll have to follow.
Another lamb to watch out for, and lead thru hill and hollow."

"I am a man!" Young Samuel cried "As brave as all of you!"
"I can protect our father's flock. I know just what to do!"

The brothers found this funny, their laughter filled the sky,
"Come 'Little Man' with lamb and ewe, the time to leave is nigh."

Although he now was far from home, his heart, it held no doubt;
His song would keep him company, upon this unknown route:

Oh, Gentle lamb, the stars shine bright,
The moonlight glows above.
A shepherd watches o'er his sheep
And guards them with his love.
Know no fear of hawk or wolf,
Your life I will defend.
My watchful eye will keep you safe,
As you, my flock, I'll tend.

Top of page

III

At last upon a hill they stopped, the hungry flock to graze
They lit a tiny fire, to stave off winter's gaze.

The brothers dozed upon the hill, but Samuel could not sleep.
Into his sheepskin vest and coat the winter's chill did creep.

Then suddenly the dark night's sky was pierced with blinding light
Young Samuel, he was sore afraid. He shivered in his fright.

"Be not afraid!" the blinding light, into a shape transformed
Became an angel, pure in grace; the air around grew warm.

"I bring you news from Bethlehem, and tidings of great joy.
For unto you is born this day a tiny Baby Boy.

He is the Savior, Jesus Christ. He's born to ease man's sin.
He lies upon a manger, in a stable by the inn."

Then with the one, a multitude, the sky above grew light
As a host of heav'nly music echoed through the night.

Young Samuel stood up brave and tall, his voice held not a quake,
As to that heavenly choir, a question he bespake.

"Where is this place, this Bethlehem, where lies the infant King?"
The angels sang in harmony, their voice did gladly ring.

"Look upwards toward the heavens, and follow yonder star,
For it will lead you to your King who sleeps in manger far."

The brothers trembled fearfully, and cowered in their fright
But Samuel took off bravely, led by the star's bright light.

It led him over hill and dale, its light revealed the way,
And as he walked, the song he sang held all his fears at bay:

Oh, Gentle lamb, the stars shine bright,
The moonlight glows above.
A shepherd watches o'er his sheep
And guards them with his love.
Know no fear of hawk or wolf,
Your life I will defend.
My watchful eye will keep you safe,
As you, my flock, I'll tend.

Top of page

IV

The town lay bathed in silence, and not a creature stirred,
As Samuel came up o'er the hill, and Bethlehem observed.

The star was shining brightly, o'er the humble inn,
Nearby, a tiny stable stood; a glow came from within.

As Samuel peered in through the door, his young heart skipped a beat.
There in the manger lay the Child; His gentle face was sweet.

The ox and lamb and ass and mare stood peacefully nearby,
As Mary gently rocked the Child, and sang a lullaby.

And Joseph stood behind her, as he watched o'er the pair,
His strong hand rested gently, upon his wife's dark hair.

A halo crowned the Infant's head; it lit the tiny room.
Its gentle light was peaceful; it held off night's dark gloom.

As Samuel viewed the holy sight, his heart was filled with awe,
He gently came into the room, and knelt upon the straw.

Mary nodded silently, a smile lit her face.
The Christ Child's eyes shone with God's love, and with His holy grace.

As Samuel knelt upon the hay, a song rose in his heart,
So to this newborn King of men, this gift he would impart.

He slowly sang his lullaby, his voice was soft and sweet.
Accompanied by the lowing cow, and by the lamb's soft bleat.

The Infant's eyes were gently closed, His head began to nod,
As Samuel sang his lullaby, unto the Lamb of God:

Oh, Gentle lamb, the stars shine bright,
The moonlight glows above.
A shepherd watches o'er his sheep
And guards them with his love.
Know no fear of hawk or wolf,
Your life I will defend.
My watchful eye will keep you safe,
As you, my flock, I'll tend.

Back to Christmas Poems Main Page
Top of page
Sitemap
Contact Us
Generations Home