Since prophecy of Malachi, no word
from God, whom Israel had known,
had broken through the silence of the years.
His presence gone, they struggled on alone.
King David's line, the glorious days of old
were past and gone, the Temple overthrown,
the Maccabees' brief triumph come to naught.
Midst threatening foes, they made a pact with Rome.
Soon Esau's line, in Herod, seized the throne;
Aaronic priesthood scattered, Pharisees
came forth with zeal, invented stricter laws
to guard the nation's pride — but brought unease
to folk discouraged, bent beneath the yoke
of cruel conquerors whom they despised.
Their only hope the promise of Messiah,
they looked with longing to the brooding skies.
And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah,
art in no wise least among the princes of Judah:
for out of thee shall come forth a governor,
who shall be shepherd of my people Israel.
God, though silent, loved his people yet,
and heard their prayers ascending from the earth.
The universe stood poised now to fulfill
that prophecy of old: the Royal birth.
Suddenly the silence of the heavens
was shattered by the angels' sharp intrusion!
To Elizabeth and Zacharias, Mary,
Came news to bring the ages to conclusion:
And when the fullness of the time had come
God sent forth his Son, born of a woman,
born under the law, that he might redeem them
that were under the law,
that we might receive the adoption of sons.
And so, in trappings of our lowly dust
the Son of God, midst chill of night, took breath
upon the earth — and in that breath
all Adam's race who trust in Him find rest.