The world was Rome's and Rome was the world
Back in the fullness of time.
Caesar lounged on his seven hills
Absorbed in food and wine.
On stone-laid roads Rome's bounty flowed
To vassals of its power,
And by the tread of soldiers' boot
The Pax Romana flowered.
From Germania's brooding forests
To Tuscany's green springs
From Alexandria, to Syria
The imperial eagle spread its wings.
In Palestine, the Hebrew land,
Of prophets, kings, and priests,
The daughter of Zion languished and wept
Borne down by shame and grief.
Her zealots planned a time to break
The Roman yoke she bore
"We shall free ourselves from the tyrant's grip
By Jehovah God," they swore.
His faithful people held their peace
Though questions filled their minds
"How long, O Lord our God, how long
Until the fullness of time?"
So while Caesar plied the business
Of a world upon his cares
And Jewish patriots plotted to trap
The sleeping eagle unawares.
While all mankind went back and forth
And back and forth again
Two travelers and a donkey
Walked the path to Bethlehem.
Compelled by Caesar's call they went
As loyal subjects do
No matter what the circumstance
To be counted out as two.
How unfair this journey must have seemed
To Joseph as he trod
And worried about fair Mary
As she bore the son of God.
"Why did she have to take this road
Through wilderness and plain?
To endure the days and starless nights
In weariness and pain?"
But with every step that donkey took
Rang the words the prophet did bring
"In Bethlehem Ephratha, David's house,
Shall be born the King."
So long ago, upon that night
While emperors sat in golden halls
He whose Empire sways the earth
For Him were found no stalls.
While men, they ate, and drank, and sang,
At the fullness of time,
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