Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Advent 2009: “Dear Little Stranger,” Charles H. Gabriel

Advent 2009: “Dear Little Stranger,” Charles H. Gabriel

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 25, 2009

Charles Hutchinson Gabriel (1856-1932), born in Iowa, lived and worked in Chicago and San Francisco, was a Methodist, a self-taught musician, and the composer of an estimated 7,000-8,000 gospel songs, hymns, and other church music. He is the author and composer of “I Stand All Amazed” in our hymnal, and this Christmas song first published in 1900 and printed in our Primary song book in 1939.

Low in a manger – dear little Stranger,
Jesus the wonderful Savior was born;
There was none to receive Him, none to believe Him,
None but the angels were watching that morn.

Dear little Stranger, slept in a manger,
No downy pillow under His head;
But with the poor he slumbered secure,
The dear little Babe in his bed.

Angels descending, over Him bending,
Chanted a tender and silent refrain;
Then a wonderful story told of His glory,
Unto the shepherds on Bethlehem’s plain.


Dear little Stranger, born in a manger,
Maker and Monarch, and Savior of all;
I will love Thee forever! grieve Thee? no, never!
Thou didst for me make Thy bed in a stall.




  1. This one (in my opinion) is another little jewel. (but that could be because my idea of high hymning is closer to rural Iowa chapel than cathedral). It is the kind of song I can well imagine my Grandma singing. There’s a great deal to work with here, if one were to make an updated version using the same lyrics and tune.

    Comment by Coffinberry — November 25, 2009 @ 9:32 am

  2. I like this piece. It’s very nice.

    Comment by Hunter — November 25, 2009 @ 9:33 am

  3. I don’t know how many years this was in the Primary song book, but I was born in 1939 and I remember learning this song in Primary. I loved it then, and it is still a favorite Christmas song of mine.

    Comment by Maurine — November 28, 2009 @ 3:24 pm

  4. Cool!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 28, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  5. My 95 year old friend sang this to me last evening. I had never heard it. She learned it in public school in Oklahoma. She said she no longer went to school programs because these types of songs were no longer allowed.
    What a joy it was for me to find the words and music for her. Thank you,
    Merry Christmas,
    Denise Barkis

    Comment by Denise Barkis — December 8, 2014 @ 10:45 am

  6. My 7 year old sister was scheduled to sing in her school Christmas program on Dec. 18, 1947. The morning of the program, her teacher changed her song to “Dear Little Stranger.” My sister always remembers that a “dear little stranger” … a new baby sister (me) … was being born that morning at her house, so the song had double meaning for her. She has asked several times that I find the song for her, so I was delighted to find it on your website — and she was thrilled to finally have the lyrics. Thanks.

    Comment by Christina Morrison — December 18, 2014 @ 8:55 am

  7. Now *that* was an especially fun comment to find this morning. Merry Christmas to you both!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — December 18, 2014 @ 8:57 am

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