The text is a poem by Lydia Avery Coonley Ward (1845-1924), a wealthy (non-Mormon) patron of the visual and musical arts, who wrote dozens, if not hundreds, of sweet and largely forgotten poems. Mildred Tanner Pettit is, as we’ve seen before, the Latter-day Saint composer of “I Am a Child of God” and other LDS works.
This song appeared in the 1939 Primary songbook.
Why do bells for Christmas ring?
Why do little children sing?
Once a lovely shining star,
Seen by shepherds from afar,
Gently moved until its light
Made a manger cradle bright.
There a darling baby law,
Pillow’d soft upon the hay;
And the mother sang and smiled,
“This is Christ, the Holy Child.”
Therefore bells for Christmas ring,
Therefore little children sing.