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Updated 01/02/2020


Gentle Mary Laid Her Child

"Gentle Mary Laid Her Child" was written in 1919 by Joseph Simpson Cook set to the tune, Tempus Adest Floridum. Cook (1859-1933) was born in England and educated at Wesleyan College and McGill University in Montreal Canada. Though he began his career as a Methodist minister, he later transferred to the United Church of Canada.

The theme of the hymn is the significance of the Christ-child. In the first stanza, he is depicted as a lowly, unremarkable human baby; some doubts exist as to whether someone so apparently ordinary could be so special. After the second stanza recounts the spectacular appearance of angels and wise men glorifying the Christ, the third stanza describes how the picture changed with this new understanding no longer is he a stranger of dubious ability, but the undefiled Son of God who has come to save the world.

The melody was used for Gentle Mary Laid Her Child, Good King Wenceslas, and Spring Has Now Unwrapped the Flowers.

Lyrics by Joseph Simpson Cook

Gentle Mary laid her Child
Lowly in a manger;
There He lay, the undefiled,
To the world a stranger:
Such a Babe in such a place,
Can He be the Savior?
Ask the saved of all the race
Who have found His favor.

Angels sang about His birth;
Wise men sought and found Him;
Heaven's star shone brightly forth,
Glory all around Him:
Shepherds saw the wondrous sight,
Heard the angels singing;
All the plains were lit that night,
All the hills were ringing.

Gentle Mary laid her Child
Lowly in a manger;
He is still the undefiled,
But no more a stranger:
Son of God, of humble birth,
Beautiful the story;
Praise His name in all the earth,
Hail the King of glory!