10 Christmas Poems about Jesus

10 Christmas Poems about Jesus

Christmas—a time of praise and worship of the One who came to give us eternal life! For centuries, through the creativity given by the Creator of all, writers have used their quills, pens, and computers to compose sacred poetry to honor Jesus, our Savior.

Many Christmas poems about Jesus make their way into songbooks and hymnals. So, as we recite or sing these inspired words this Christmas season, may they draw our hearts to worship the infant King who was born to bring salvation for those who believe (John 3:16-17).

Photo Credit: Chad Madden/Unsplash

Christmas manger, “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” by Christina Georgina Rossetti

1. “In the Bleak Mid-Winter” by Christina Georgina Rossetti

This Christmas poem about Jesus was originally published in 1872 and titled “Christmas Carol.” While we may not be as familiar with the early stanzas, the closing verse is often quoted during the advent season. What can we give the One born to die for our sins and reconcile us to the Father? The author’s answer is simple—our hearts.

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,

Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;

Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,

In the bleak midwinter long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;

Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.

In the bleak midwinter, a stable place sufficed

The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim worship night and day,

A breastful of milk and a manger full of hay;

Enough for Him, Whom angels fall before,

The ox and ass and camel which adore.

Angels and archangels may have gathered there,

Cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;

But His mother only, in her maiden bliss,

Worshipped the beloved with a kiss.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?

If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;

If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;

Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/kevron2001

bell ornament on christmas tree, christmas bells by henry wadsworth longfellow christmas poems

2. “Christmas Bells” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This 1863 poem was born of deep sorrow after Longfellow’s son was wounded in battle and his wife died in a fire. In utter anguish, the author wrote these words on Christmas day, ultimately turning words of hurt into words of hope. What a comfort to remember that even in our darkest hours, we can find peace in Christ Jesus.

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,

And wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

 

And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom

Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

 

Till ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,

A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

 

Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,

And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

 

It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!

 

And in despair, I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;

“For hate is strong,

And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, goodwill to men!”

 

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, goodwill to men.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Aaron Burden

Christmas nativity manger scene figurines, love came down at christmas christina georgina rossetti

3. “Love Came Down at Christmas” by Christina Georgina Rossetti

This nineteenth-century poem speaks of God’s amazing, unconditional love when He sent His own Son as love incarnate. Jesus—fully God and fully man—came to earth to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Oh, what joy, that love did come to us through Christ!

Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, Love divine;

Love was born at Christmas;

Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,

Love incarnate, Love divine;

Worship we our Jesus,

but wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token;

Love be yours, and love be mine;

Love to God and others,

Love for plea and gift and sign.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Alasdair Elmes

Nativity scene with star and magi, there's a star in the east on christmas morn christmas poems

4. “There’s a Star in the East on Christmas Morn” by Unknown Author

This nineteenth-century African-American spiritual is a beautiful call to seek the Lord Jesus, Savior of the world. The words echo Jesus’ call to follow Him in Luke 5:27-28. Following the King of kings leads to life (John 3:16)!

There’s a star in the East on Christmas morn;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow;

It will lead to the place where the Christ was born;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow.

 

Follow, follow;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow.

Follow the Star of Bethlehem;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow.

 

Leave your sheep, leave your sheep, and leave your lambs;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow;

Leave your ewes and your rams, leave your ewes and rams;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow.

 

Refrain:

If you take good heed to the angel’s words;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow;

You’ll forget your flocks, you’ll forget your herds;

Rise up, shepherd, and follow.

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/RomoloTavani

Brightly lit lantern covered in snow, see amid the winter's snow edward caswell christmas poems

5. “See Amid the Winter’s Snow” by Edward Caswall

Edward Caswell wrote and translated poems. His translations include the famous hymn “Jesus, the Very Thought of Thee.” This 1858 Christmas poem about Jesus was eventually used as a hymn, and the words truly draw the heart to worship. Pondering the line, “There within the manger lies he who built the starry skies ...” makes my heart soar with wonder.

See amid the winter’s snow,

Born for us on earth below,

See, the gentle lamb appears,

Promised from eternal years.

 

There within a manger lies

He who built the starry skies;

He who throned in heights sublime,

Sits amid the cherubim.

 

Say, you holy shepherds, say,

Tell your joyful news today.

Why have you now left your sheep

On the lonely mountain steep?

“As we watched at dead of night,

There appeared a wondrous light;

Angels singing ‘Peace on earth’

Told us of the Savior’s birth.”

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Mira Kemppainen

a man praying at Christmas, o how shall i keep my christmas john westall christmas poems

6. “O How Shall I Keep My Christmas?” by John Westall

A lesser-known but powerful Christmas poem written in the mid-nineteenth century, these words show the author’s desire to honor the coming of the Lord Jesus. The simple beauty touches on the wonder of God’s purpose in sending Jesus as a baby to grow and live a sinless life and to bear the burden of our sins on the cross.

O, how shall I keep my Christmas?

My heart whispered softly to me,

For I had been reading the story

Of the Lord’s nativity;

And slowly and clearly before me

The words like pictures rise,

And the scenes appear in the beauty

Of the starry Syrian skies.

 

O cradled He was in a manger!

For lowly and poor was He,

Whose throne is the splendors of heaven

Whose power is infinity;

And He bore His cross to save us,

To save us from death and sin,

And He trod all alone the winepress

To make us pure and clean.

 

In glory, the hosts of the angels

Came singing His song of praise,

And filling the heav’ns with their music

In those wonderful old days;

Singing Glory to God in the highest!

And peace upon earth,

And the mighty chorus of voices

Pealed forth goodwill to all.

 

O, how shall I keep my Christmas?

As they keep it in heaven above;

O keep it with peace and thanksgiving,

And kindliest deed of love;

And share with the poor and needy

The joys which the Lord gives thee;

And thy heart shall keep with the angels

The Lord’s nativity.

Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Fermate

Gold Christmas Star with red background, what star is this with beams so bright charles coffin christmas poems

7. “What Star Is This, with Beams So Bright?” by Charles Coffin

Charles Coffin was a French university professor who wrote many poems—including about 100 hymns and a song about champagne. In 1736, he penned what may be his most famous poem. Later translated into English by John Chandler, this poem still resonates in Christmas-loving hearts today. How he would marvel that his humble words continue to inspire worship of the Newborn King!

What star is this, with beams so bright,

More lovely than the noonday light?

’Tis sent to announce a newborn king,

Glad tidings of our God to bring.

 

’Tis now fulfilled what God decreed,

“From Jacob shall a star proceed;”

And lo! the eastern sages stand

To read in heaven the Lord’s command.

 

O Jesus, while the star of grace

Impels us on to seek thy face,

Let not our slothful hearts refuse

The guidance of thy light to use.

 

To God the Father, heav’nly Light,

To Christ, revealed in earthly night,

To God the Holy Spirit raise

An endless song of thankful praise!

Photo Credit: Unsplash/AaronBurden

illustration of stable and manger with sheep, when shiloh came marie radcliffe butler christmas poems

8. “When Shiloh Came” by Marie Radcliffe Butler

This author used simple and insightful verse to weave the coming of Christ as a babe with the Gospel hope of rest and restoration. The words were published in 1877 and continue reverberating the promise and truth of Christ Jesus, our Savior.

A light in the darkness—a wonderful thing—
 A babe in the manger, the heir of a king.
 From the palace of God came a guest in the night
 To a manger and darkness, and sorrow and blight.
 The seed of a woman, the brightest and best,
The blossom of ages, the promise of rest.

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages/kevron200

A nativity, christ's nativity henry vaughan christmas poems

9. “Christ’s Nativity” by Henry Vaughan

In the seventeenth century, Henry Vaughan wrote of Christ’s birth and included a stirring verse about his unworthiness in light of the holiness of the baby Jesus. As he wrote, the author yearned for a clean place in his heart for Christ to dwell. How precious that even in his recognition of lowliness, he knew this Child King, “the Lord of Life,” could heal and cleanse him of sin.

Awake, glad heart! Get up and sing!

It is the birth-day of thy King.

Awake! awake!

The Sun doth shake

Light from his locks and all the way

Breathing perfumes doth spice the day.

 

Awake, awake! hark how the wood rings;

Winds whisper, and the busy springs

A concert make;

Awake! awake!

Man is their high priest and should rise

To offer up the sacrifice.

 

I would I were some bird or star,

Fluttering in woods or lifted far

Above this inn

And road of sin!

Then either star or bird should be

Shining or singing still to thee.

 

I would I had in my best part

Fit rooms for thee! Or that my heart

Were so clean as

Thy manger was!

But I am all filth and obscene;

Yet, if thou wilt, thou canst make clean.

 

Sweet Jesu! will then let no more

This leper haunt and soil thy door!

Cure him, ease him,

O, release him!

And let once more, by mystic birth,

The Lord of life be born in earth.

Photo Credit: ©Walter Chavez/Unsplash

child hands holding a baby jesus nativity statue, the burning babe robert southwell christmas poems

10. “The Burning Babe” by Robert Southwell

We’ll close with a deep and insightful Christmas poem about Jesus written in 1595. The author ponders the love of Christ for a fallen world in this poem. He uses powerful imagery to show Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection. Southwell’s use of the words “wounding thorns,” “Justice,” and “Mercy” usher the reader to the feet of our Savior-King and remind us of the holiness and purpose of Christmas.

As I in hoary winter’s night

Stood shivering in the snow,

Surprised I was with sudden heat

Which made my heart to glow;

And lifting up a fearful eye

To view what fire was near,

A pretty babe, all burning bright

Did in the air appear;

Who, scorched with excessive heat,

Such floods of tears did shed,

As though His floods should quench His flames,

Which with His tears were bred:

‘Alas!’ quoth He, ‘but newly born

In fiery heats, I fry,

Yet none approach to warm their hearts

Or feel my fire but I!

‘My faultless breast the furnace is;

The fuel, wounding thorns;

Love is the fire and sighs the smoke;

The ashes, shames, and scorns;

The fuel Justice layeth on,

And Mercy blows the coals,

The metal in this furnace wrought

Are men’s defiled souls:

For which, as now on fire I am

To work them to their good,

So will I melt into a bath,

To wash them in my blood’

With this, He vanished out of sight

And swiftly shrunk away,

And straight I called unto mind

That it was Christmas Day.

Further Reading:

Top 10 Easter Poems for Passion Week               

10 Classic Christmas Hymns to Renew Your Holiday Spirit

Top 20 Christian Christmas Songs: Holiday Music of Faith

4 Inspiring Christmas Eve Prayers

A Worshipping Christmas

What Can We Learn from Old Christmas Hymns?

Sentimentalizing, Sanitizing, and Spiritualizing Christmas

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Leigh Ann ThomasLeigh Ann Thomas is passionate about encouraging others to seek God’s best. She has penned four books, including Smack-Dab in the Midlife Zone—Inspiration for Women in the Middle, and Ribbons, Lace, and Moments of Grace—Inspiration for the Mother of the Bride

You’ll find Leigh Ann on an adventure with her sweetheart of 37 years, getting silly with her grands, or daydreaming story plots on the front porch. 

Connect on LeighAThomas.com, InTheQuiver.com, and on Twitter


This article is part of our larger Christmas and Advent resource library centered around the events leading up to the birth of Jesus Christ. We hope these articles help you understand the meaning and story behind important Christian holidays and dates and encourage you as you take time to reflect on all that God has done for us through his son Jesus Christ!

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