"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid." Luke 2:8-9
This carol was written by Edmund Sears of Wayland, Massachusetts, who wrote the five-stanza poem in 1849. Sears is said to have written these words at the request of his friend, W. P. Lunt, a minister in Quincy, Massachusetts. The hymn was first sung at the 1849 Sunday School Christmas celebration. A year later, in1850, composer Richard Storrs Willis wrote the melody.