The wise men are led by the star to Jesus
Text: Matthew 2:1-12
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying,
"Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a rulerwho will shepherd my people Israel.' "
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem saying,
"Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."
After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then opening their treasure, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
This Little Babe
This little Babe so few days old is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth, at his presence quake, though he himself for cold do shake;
For, in this weak unarmed wise, the gates of hell he will surprise.
With tears, he fights and wins the field, his naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries, his arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns, Cold and Need, and feeble flesh his warrior's steed.
His camp is pitched in a stall, his bulwark but a broken wall.
The crib his trench, haystalks his stakes, of shepherds he his muster makes;
And thus, as sure his foe to wound, the angels' trumps alarum sound.
My soul, with Christ, join thou in fight, stick to the tents that he hath pight.
Within his crib is surest war, this Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy, then flit not from this heavenly Boy.
Words by Robert Southwell, music by Benjamin Britten
This Little Babe is sung allegro and animato in four, six and eight parts, fugal- with all the parts starting and stopping at different places (like much of the Messiah). When we sang this carol, it was both my favorite and most difficult piece. Try saying "the crib his trench, haystalks his stakes" three times very fast.