The words of this anthem were written in honor of missionaries John and Bett Stam, who were martyred for their faith in China in 1934. Their 3-month-old daugher, Helen, was hidden in a sleeping bag during the 12-mile march to their deaths. Miraculously, Helen was discovered days later still alive. Upon receiving news of their deaths, Frank Houghton penned this hymn which was inspired by 2 Corinthians 8:9 “. . .that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor.” John and Betty Stam were compelled to live and die by the truth that was later printed on John's tombstone: “That Christ may be glorified whether by life or by death. For me to live is Christ and to die is pain” Phil. 1:20-21
Set to a traditional French carol and arranged for SATB choir and piano, this piece with its tender moving accompaniment and rich harmonies add up to a poignant examination of the Christmas miracle.