The Christmas Ballad


Once a little baby born in old Bethlehem
Under the shade of the horses’ pepper tree,
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a pilgrim, my darling, with me.

You’ll walk to heaven, you’ll walk to heaven,
You’ll walk to heaven alongside me,
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a pilgrim, my darling, with me.

It rained all day at the time of his christening,
It brought down blessings for you and me.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a gospeller, my darling, with me.

You’ll tell the story, you’ll tell the story,
You’ll tell the story that sets the world free.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll be a gospeller, my darling, with me.

Along came old Satan to dry up all the blessing,
And put an end to love that’s true.
And his hands were as smooth as anything that’s empty,
He is a poisoner of the wells for you.

You’ll guard our water, you’ll guard our water,
You’ll guard the springs of community.
And Christ’s hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll keep its love and its purity.

He fought old Satan on top of Hill of Calvary,
He beat him down to his end, you see.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
You’ll laugh for ever, my darling, with me.

You’ll laugh for ever, you’ll laugh for ever,
We’ll laugh together for Jesus is free.
And his hands had the prints of the nails, alleluia,
We’ll laugh for ever, for Jesus is free.

© Ted Witham 1996

Tune: “Waltzing Matilda’

Ballad inspired by Norman Habel and Pro Hart's Outback Christmas

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The Stigmata


When Francis our father received the stigmata,
he climbed up Averna and prayed from the heart.
With all his believing, he now is receiving
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

So first there is Moses, who on our God closes
by opening his life to the power of the law.
He follows obeying, and does what God’s saying:
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

And next there is Jesus who brightness releases.
On Carmel he’s climbing and shines in the light.
The truth that he’s revealing, with serving we’re sealing
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

So when our Saint Francis on Averna dances,
He turns to the Lord and is won by the Cross.
Obeying and seeing, and turning and freeing
the marks on his body of being in Christ.

Now we who are living find joy in thanksgiving.
We seek out a place to pause and to pray.
The love that we’re gaining is expressed with pain in
the marks on our body of being in Christ.

This hymn was inspired by Moses’ experience of the glory of God when he climbed Mount Sinai. This is described in Exodus 24:12-18 set for the Old Testament reading for the Stigmata (in the Australian Third Order Manual).

The metre of the hymn is 12.11.12.11 and the words were written to fit the tune “Kremser” (Together in Song 107).  It can also be sung to the “Ash Grove” (Together in Song 531) (either repeat verse 1 at the end, or start verse 5 from line 5 of the music to fit “The Ash Grove”).

© Ted Witham tssf, Stigmata 2007

The Stigmatizing of St Francis - Caravaggio