Offering at the Manger tells the inspiring fictional story of an elderly woman who takes a homemade pie as a gift to the infant Jesus. Upon presenting her gift, she becomes the object of some derision from the more affluent gift givers. She leaves the stable feeling embarrassed when, suddenly, she is visited by an angel. The angel assures the woman that, of all the material gifts anyone could offer the Christ child, the greatest gift is love. The poem consists of six verses using varying voicings and gradually building in intensity until the final verse ends with the musical climax as the universal message of love is delivered.
Long ago in Bethlehem lived a woman, poor and old,
Sitting in her lowly cabin, she, her story, told.
“Once I saw a shining star and followed it to this good town.
With shepherds here I marveled at the wonder we had found.”
“That blessed babe in manger low did not a tear of sorrow cry
When I displayed my humble offering, a poor berry pie.”
“I loved that babe at first sight, the Child who soon was crowned a King,
But my gift of food was the cause of laughter for Wisemen visiting.”
“I left the stable silently, walking homeward, heavy of heart,
When high above, a glorious angel, in joyful song, proclaimed:
‘Of all the gifts we offer to Christ who came from God above,
Not gold, not myrrh, not frankincense, but the greatest gift is love.’”
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