THOU DIDST LEAVE THY THRONE
Emily E. S. Elliott, 1836–1897
I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
This spiritually enriching text differs from the usual Christmas songs since it focuses not only on Jesus’ birth but also on His life on earth, His suffering and death, and the ultimate triumph of His second advent.
This hymn was written by Emily Elliott to teach children the truths of the advent and nativity seasons. Emily’s life was filled with benevolent activities in rescue missions and in the work of the Sunday school movement of that time. Although she wrote this text for the children of her father’s church, St. Mark’s Anglican Church in Brighton, England, the easily understood wording, the poetic imagery, and the spiritual truths found in these excellent lines soon made the hymn a widespread favorite everywhere.
The clear message of each verse is accentuated by the use of contrasting sentences, each beginning with the word “but.” Then in the fifth stanza, the contrast is reversed with the rejoicing at Christ’s return and the prospects of being at His side throughout eternity. The refrain after each verse effectively personalizes the truth presented. This fine hymn has proved to be an inspiration not only to children but to adults as well, during the Christmas season and also throughout the entire year.
Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown when Thou camest to earth for me; but in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room for Thy holy nativity.
Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang, proclaiming Thy royal degree; but of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth, and in great humility.
The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest in the shade of the forest tree; but Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God, in the deserts of Galilee.
Thou camest, O Lord, with the living word that should set Thy people free; but with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn they bore Thee to Calvary.
When the heav’ns shall ring and the angels sing at Thy coming to victory, let Thy voice call me home, saying, “Yet there is room—there is room at My side for thee,” My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus, when thou comest and callest for me!
Refrain (vv. 1–4): O come to my heart, Lord Jesus—there is room in my heart for Thee!
For Today: Matthew 1:18–25; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:5–11
The Christmas story must become very personal in our individual lives. Carry this musical response with you—