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Once in Royal David’s City was written by Cecil Frances (Humphreys) Alexander to help children understand the Apostle’s Creed.
On the 3rd Sunday of Advent, we light the Gaudete (“Rejoice”) candle of JOY. This is traditionally the rose-colored candle in an Advent wreath. Did you know that Gaudete Sunday has also been known as Rose Sunday?
While we spent the first two weeks of Advent focused on Christ’s coming, the third week is one of joy and rejoicing in anticipation of Christ’s coming again.
We also, as a Western church, tend to focus on John the Baptist’s connection with Advent.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
For a refresher course on what Advent is, check out my advent playlist!
Suggested Reading: Advent Playlist: 25 Christmas Hymns
Advent Playlist – 25 Christmas Hymns
1. A Strange Way to Save the World
2. Angel Gabriel
3. Angels From the Realms of Glory
4. Christ is the World’s True Light
5. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
6. The Crown of Roses
7. E’en So Lord Jesus Quickly Come
8. Gesu Bambino
9. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
10 – I Wonder as I Wander
11 – Jesus Christ The Apple Tree
12. The King Shall Come
13. Carol of the Drum (Little Drummer Boy)
14. Mary, Did You Know?
15. O Come All Ye Faithful
16. O Come O Come Emmanuel
17. O Holy Night
18. O Little Town of Bethlehem
Day 19. Once in Royal David’s City
Once in Royal David’s City was written by Cecil Frances (Humphreys) Alexander two years prior to her marriage to the future Chief Bishop of Ireland.
The hymn was written to help children understand the Apostle’s Creed. Specifically, it was written to help them grasp that Jesus “was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary”.
Given that this Advent hymn was written for children, it is fitting that the last two stanzas focus on the anticipation of Christ sharing his glory with his children.
Once in Royal David’s City Lyrics –
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.
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 mean, and lowly,
lived on earth our Savior holy.
And thro’ all his wondrous childhood
he would honor and obey,
love and watch the lowly maiden
in whose gentle arms he lay:
Christian children all must be
mild, obedient, good as he.
And our eyes at last shall see him,
thro’ 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.
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;
when like stars his children crowned
all in white shall wait around.
Scripture Reading for Day 19 of Advent –
But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
“Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!”
Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.
Advent Playlist – Days 20 to 25
20. People, Look East
21. Silent Night
22. Sweet Little Jesus Boy
23. There Stood in Heaven a Linden Tree
24. Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
25. Whence is That Goodly Fragrance Flowing?
Continue the Conversation
What is your favorite Christmas Hymn or way to celebrate Advent?