O Jesus Light Of Bethlehem – Hymn Lyric

Embrace the power of self-restraint and charity inspired by "O Jesus

O Jesus Light Of Bethlehem – Hymn Lyric

“O Jesus, Light of Bethlehem” is a powerful hymn that speaks to the importance of self-restraint and charity in our lives. It reminds us of the significance of fasting as a means of cleansing our sinful ways and embracing the power of charity. By following the examples set by biblical figures and the teachings of Christ, we can free ourselves from the bondage of flesh and create a world where all are cared for and loved.



   

O Jesus Light Of Bethlehem – Hymn Lyric

O Jesus, Light of Bethlehem,
True Son of God, Incarnate Word;
Thou offspring of a Virgin’s womb,
Be present at our frugal board;
Accept our fast, our sacrifice,
And smile upon us, gracious Lord.

For by this holiest mystery
The inward parts are cleansed from stain,
And, taming all the unbridled lusts,
Our sinful flesh we thus restrain,
Lest gluttony and drunkenness
Should choke the soul and cloud the brain.

Hence appetite and luxury
Are forced their empire to resign;
The wanton sport, the jest obscene,
The ignoble sway of sleep and wine,
And all the plagues of languid sense
Feel the strict bonds of discipline.

For if, full fed with meat and drink,
The flesh thou ne’er dost mortify,
The mind, that spark of sacred flame,
By pleasure dulled, must fail and die,
And pent in its gross prison-house
The soul in shameful torpor lie.

So be thy carnal lusts controlled,
So be thy judgment clear and bright;
Then shall thy spirit, swift and free,
Be gifted with a keener sight,
And breathing in an ampler air
To the All-Father pray aright.

Elias by such abstinence,
Seer of the desert, grew in grace,
Who left the madding haunts of men
And found a peaceful resting-place,
Where, far from sinful crowds, he trod
The pure and silent wilderness.

Till by those fiery coursers drawn
The swift car bore him through the air,
Lest earth’s defiling touch should mar
The holiness it might not share,
Or some polluting breath disturb
The peace attained by fast and prayer.

Moses, through whom from His dread throne
The will of God to man was told,
No food might touch till through the sky
The sun full forty times had rolled,
Ere God before him stood revealed,
Lord of the heavens sevenfold.

Tears were his meat, while bent in prayer
Through the long night he bowed his head
E’en to the thirsty dust, that drank
The drops in bitter weeping shed;
Till, at God’s call, he saw the flame
No eye may bear, and was afraid.

The Baptist, too, was strong in fast–
Forerunner in a later day
Of God’s Eternal Son–who made
The byepaths plain, the crooked way
A road direct, wherein His feet
Might travel on without delay.

This was the messenger’s great task
Who for God’s advent zealously
Prepared the way, the rough made smooth,
The mountain levelled to the sea;
That, when Truth came from heaven to earth,
All fair and straight His path should be.

He was not born in common wise,
For dry and wrinkled was the breast
Of her that bare him late in years,
Nor found she from her labour rest,
Till she had hailed with lips inspired
The Maid with unborn Godhead blest.

For him the hairy skins of beasts
Furnished a raiment rude and wild,
As forth into the lonely waste
He fared, an unbefriended child,
Who dwelt apart, lest he should be
By evil city-life defiled.

There, vowed to abstinence, he grew
To manhood, and with stern disdain
He turned from meat and drink, until
He saw night’s shadow fall again;
And locusts and the wild bees’ store
Sufficed his vigour to sustain.

The first was he to testify
Of that new life which man might win;
In Jordan’s consecrating stream
He purged the stains of ancient sin,
And, as he made the body clean,
The radiant Spirit entered in.

Forth from the holy tide they came
Reborn, from guilt’s pollution free,
As bright from out the cleansing fire
Flows the rough gold, or as we see
The glittering silver, purged of dross,
Flash into polished purity.

Now let us tell, from Holy Writ,
Of olden fasts the fairest crown;
How God in pity stayed His hand,
And spared a doomed and guilty town,
In clemency the flames withheld
And laid His vengeful lightnings down.

A mighty race of ancient time
Waxed arrogant in boastful pride;
Debauched were they, and borne along
On foul corruption’s loathsome tide,
Till in their stiff-necked self-conceit
They e’en the God of Heaven denied.

At last Eternal Mercy turns
To righteous judgment, swift and dire;
He shakes the clouds; the mighty sword
Flames in His hand, and in His ire
He wields the roaring hurricane
‘Mid murky gloom and flashing fire.

Yet in His clemency He grants
To penitence a brief delay,
That they might burst the bonds of lust
And put their vanities away;
His sentence given, He waits awhile
And stays the hand upraised to slay.

To warn them of the wrath to come
The Avenger in His mercy sent
Jonah the seer; but,–though he knew
The threatening Judge would fain relent
Nor wished to strike,–towards Tarshish town
The prophet’s furtive course was bent.

As up the galley’s side he climbed,
They loosed the dripping rope, and passed
The harbour bar: then on them burst
The sudden fury of the blast;
And when their peril’s cause they sought,
The lot was on the recreant cast.

The man whose guilt the urn declares
Alone must die, the rest to save;
Hurled headlong from the deck, he falls
And sinks beneath the engulfing wave,
Then, seized by monstrous jaws, is plunged
Into a vast and living grave.

* *
* *
At last the monster hurls him forth,
As the third night had rolled away;
Before its roar the billows break
And lash the cliffs with briny spray;
Unhurt the wondering prophet stands
And hails the unexpected day.

Thus turned again to duty’s path
To Nineveh he swiftly came,
Their lusts rebuked and boldly preached
God’s judgment on their sin and shame;
“Believe!” he cried, “the Judge draws nigh
Whose wrath shall wrap your streets in flame.”

Thence to the lofty mount withdrew,
Where he might watch the smoke-cloud lower
O’er blasted homes and ruined halls,
And rest beneath the shady bower
Upspringing in swift luxury
Of twining tendril, leaf and flower.

But when the guilty burghers heard
The impending doom, a dull despair
Possessed their souls; proud senators,
Poor craftsmen, throng the highways fair;
Pale youth with tottering age unites,
And women’s wailing rends the air.

A public fast they now decree,
If they may thus Christ’s anger stay:
No food they touch: each haughty dame
Puts silken robes and gems away,
In sable garbed, and ashes casts
Upon her tresses’ disarray.

In dark and squalid vesture clad
The Fathers go: the mourning crowd
Dons rough attire: in shaggy skins
Enwrapped, fair maids their faces shroud
With dusky veils, and boyish heads
E’en to the very dust are bowed.

The King tears off his jewelled brooch
And rends the robe of Coan hue;
Bright emeralds and lustrous pearls
Are flung aside, and ashes strew
The royal head, discrowned and bent,
As low he kneels God’s grace to sue.

None thought to drink, none thought to eat;
All from the table turned aside,
And in their cradles wet with tears
Starved babes in bitter anguish cried,
For e’en the foster-mother stern
To little lips the breast denied.

The very flocks are closely penned
By careful hands, lest they should gain
Sweet water from the babbling stream
Or wandering crop the dewy plain;
And bleating sheep and lowing kine
Within their barren stalls complain.

Moved by such penitence, full soon
God’s grace repealed the stern decree
And curbed His righteous wrath; for aye,
When man repents, His clemency
Is swift to pardon and to hear
His children weeping bitterly.

Yet wherefore of that bygone race
Should we anew the story tell?
For Christ’s pure soul by fasting long
The clogging bonds of flesh did quell;
He Whom the prophet’s voice foretold
As GOD WITH US, Emmanuel.

Man’s body–frail by nature’s law
And bound by pleasure’s easy chain–
He freed by virtue

   

Meaning of O Jesus Light Of Bethlehem

O Jesus, Light of Bethlehem: Embracing the Power of Self-Restraint and Charity

In the depths of Bethlehem, where the Son of God took his first breath, we find a powerful hymn that speaks to the importance of self-restraint and charity in our lives. This hymn, titled “O Jesus, Light of Bethlehem,” reminds us of the significance of fasting and sacrifice, not only in cleansing our sinful ways but also in embracing the power of charity.

The hymn begins by praising Jesus as the light of Bethlehem, the true Son of God and the Incarnate Word. It acknowledges that Jesus, born of a Virgin’s womb, understands the sacredness and importance of sharing a meal with others. It invites him to be present at our humble table, to accept our fast and sacrifice, and to bestow his gracious smile upon us.

Fasting, the hymn suggests, holds a special place in the journey towards spiritual purity. By partaking in this holiest mystery, we cleanse our inner selves from the stains of sin. It is through this self-restraint that we can tame the unbridled lusts that reside within us. By restraining our sinful flesh, we prevent gluttony and drunkenness from overtaking our souls and clouding our minds.

Appetite and luxury, the hymn continues, are forced to relinquish their hold on us when we embrace self-discipline. The wanton sports, obscene jests, and the negative effects of excessive sleep and wine all lose their power over us. By practicing self-restraint, we free ourselves from the plagues of languid senses and create room within ourselves for true discipline to flourish.

The hymn then dives into examples from biblical stories to reinforce the value of fasting. It speaks of how Elijah, the seer of the desert, grew in grace through his abstinence from worldly temptations. By leaving the bustling crowd behind, he found peace and tranquility in the silent wilderness. It was in this sacred space that he devoted himself to fasting and prayer, allowing his spirit to soar freely in communion with the All-Father.

Moses, too, embraced fasting as a means of connecting with God. Through forty days of abstinence from food, he purified his body and soul and received the divine will from his creator. His dedication to fasting allowed him to stand before God, lord of the sevenfold heavens, and receive divine guidance.

The hymn then turns its attention to John the Baptist, the messenger who prepared the crooked paths for the coming of God’s Eternal Son. The Baptist, too, understood the power of fasting as a means to prepare oneself for divine presence. By fasting, he made the rough roads straight, allowing Truth to enter the world without delay.

The hymn then shifts its focus to the story of Jonah, an earlier example of fasting’s power. In his attempt to escape the mission given to him by God, Jonah boards a ship and sails towards Tarshish. But God, in his mercy, sends a mighty storm to teach Jonah a lesson. Thrown overboard into the raging sea, Jonah is swallowed by a monstrous sea creature, only to be spit out three days later onto dry land. It is then that Jonah heeds the call to warn the people of Nineveh of their impending doom, and they turn to fasting as a sign of repentance. God, touched by their penitence, spares the city from destruction.

The hymn also reminds us of the importance of fasting in our own lives. It encourages us to follow the example of Christ, who spent forty days in the inhospitable wilderness, fasting and resisting the temptations of the Adversary. By embracing self-restraint, Christ gained mastery over human weakness, enabling his mortal frame to rejoice in the sway of the spirit.

The hymn exhorts us to follow the path that Christ taught us, the path of consecrated life that breaks the bonds of flesh and allows the spirit to reign over our actions and thoughts. It is through this path that we can become God’s holy altar, inviting faith to stir within our hearts and driving sin away. Just as fasting extinguishes fire and melts snow, it has the power to vanquish the sins that grow within us.

However, the hymn reminds us that fasting alone is not enough. It must go hand in hand with charity. It is the noble task of virtuous souls to clothe the naked, feed the destitute, and visit those who suffer. Whether we are a king or a beggar, we must bear the lot that fate has decreed for us. True happiness, according to the hymn, comes to those who selflessly help others, without seeking recognition or praise.

So, let us embrace the power of self-restraint and charity in our lives, inspired by the Light of Bethlehem. May we follow the examples set by biblical figures and the teachings of Christ himself. By fasting and practicing self-discipline, we can cleanse our bodies and souls, allowing our spirits to shine brightly. And by combining fasting with acts of charity, we can create a world where all are cared for and loved.

Embrace the light, dear friends, and let it guide you on this wonderful journey of self-restraint and charity. Remember, it is through these acts of obedience and kindness that we truly honor the message of “O Jesus, Light of Bethlehem.”

 

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