Singing the Sacred

Pastoral musicianship and worship in progressive Christianity

Within A Stall A Baby Lies Cradled (But On This Night)

Like many hymn enthusiasts, I’m inspired by the Iona Community. In particular, I love their use of traditional English and Scottish music as a basis for their progressive hymn texts. I’ve long thought that a similar movement applied to Irish traditional music could be successful.

This text focuses on a missing element in many Christmases, Peace.  The rush of the season is full of hope, joy, and love, but often at the cost of peace. I was also inspired by the ministry of the Interfaith Winter Shelter in our town (and similar programs across the nation), and the crisis of homelessness that plaques our country. I’ve set these words to a traditional Irish lullaby that I’ve sung to both of my boys, and it’s dedicated to them.

Within A Stall A Baby Lies Cradled (But On This Night)
Within a stall a baby lies cradled.
Within his mother’s safe arms he reclines.
The world awaits outside of the stable
Expecting a saviour, redeemer divine.

But on this night the world can tarry,
The wise be patient, the shepherds abide.
She holds her treasure, the one she carried
Within her body throughout every night.

Alone and hungry, cold on the pavement
A man lies sleeping as people pass by.
Abused, ignored, forgotten, and hated
He dreams of a place where he isn’t denied.

But on this night a stranger sees him
Not as an outcast or one to deride.
Her hand extended, she offers him refuge
No terms or conditions with love are required.

So on this night, O God, we imagine
A world where all people find peace, calm and sure.
Our hearts are tired and restless from waiting.
We long for the stillness for which we’ve endured.

But on this night, to those who’ll listen,
A voice calls softly, as on the wind:
“For Hope and Peace and Joy to flourish,
It’s Love you must cherish and welcome within.”

Tune: Traditional Irish (“Seoithin Seotho”)
Text: Copyright © 2012 by David Wood. All rights reserved.
Permission is given for duplication and use within worship settings.
Dedicated to my two boys, Maitland and Ogden.

Printable PDF with musical notation: Within A Stall A Baby Lies Cradled (But On This Night)

***If you decide to use this song, please comment and let me know where it’ll be sung!***

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One thought on “Within A Stall A Baby Lies Cradled (But On This Night)

  1. Such beautiful words…you are amazing!

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