I wrote a version of “Watcher, Tell Us of the Night” last year for the parents of a baby born in 2017. It has always seemed that those first year babies are watching — seeing more of reality that we adults, often do because everything is so special. I share it with you in case you want to give it to someone who has a new baby this year. You replace “New child” with the name, which is then in the place of “Watcher” or “Watchman” in the original hymn, and put someone who has died who is precious to the parents where I have put “some great-grandma.” (for example for this child it might be “Aunt Diane is” or “Uncle Gary’s”– you need four syllables and can use the “is” to cheat it correctly)
New Child/Watcher … tell us of the night.
a song for your first Christmas Eve
New child, tell us of this night,
tucked inside your crib so small.
sleep sack warm and tiny light —
close your parents soft footfall.
New child, do you feel the kiss
some great-grandma’s passing near.
all sad shadows to dismiss,
till the morning reappear.
New child, hear us share a night
long ago with star above.
Herald angels came in flight,
singing news of joy and love.
New child, through God’s holy child
in a manger come to birth
all our fears are reconciled
and there’s hope for peace on earth.
New child, your first Christmas Eve
rest a blessing on your heart.
Touched with wonder, we believe
doubt and sorrow can depart.
New child, many years may turn,
filled by greeting and farewell,
marked by joy or deep concern —
by your side — Emmanuel.
“Watcher (Watchman) Tell Us of the Night”
Original lyrics John Bowring
James Bowring was born at Exeter England, in 1792