Guard Him, Joseph

Lyrics & Information
LyricsAbout the song...
Guard him, Joseph, as he slumbers,
There behind the stable doors
Let no errant sound distress him,
Tread thou softly on the floor
Linger watchful round the manger;
Hush thy voice and still the beasts
For thou hast within thy keeping
Christ, the infant Prince of Peace

Guard him, Joseph, through the darkness;
Watching o’er him till the dawn
Bid the shepherds enter meekly,
Sstand in wonder, gaze in awe
Trim thy lamp and shield thy candle;
See they burn all through the night
For thou hast within thy keeping
Christ, the everlasting Light

Guard him, Joseph, from all danger;
Keep thy vigil nigh his bed
Let no harm nor grief befall him;
Stand thou in a father’s stead
When his mother’s arms be weary,
Hold him gently as thine own
For thou hast within thy keeping
God’s own well-beloved Son.

We have been blessed with four babies in our family–though they’re certainly not babies anymore! It was during the times when they actually were babies that I learned to appreciate their dad the most. He was so patient with them and with me, spending as many hours up with them at night as I did… probably more. I was thankful for the help, and even more thankful for his obvious love for them.

How grateful Mary must have been for the support and care of her husband Joseph, who was called on to act as the earthly father of the Savior, and to love the Child as his own. That thought prompted the lyrics of this simple song one day as I was Christmas shopping and listening to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” on the store’s muzak system. The first two lines of harmonic pattern and melody are loosely based on that canon, and the tenor/bass duet accompaniment and obbligato borrow from it.

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Vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor, Accompaniment Track
Vocals by James Loynes, Accompaniment Track

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YouTube Videos

This is the audio track with vocals by James Loynes, with a lovely photograph by Natalie Heiner.
This Song on Audio CD:

On a Still and Starry Night CD Cover

On a Still and Starry Night
Vocals by Allyse Smith Taylor

On a Still and Starry Night Accompaniment Tracks CD Cover

On a Still and Starry Night
Accompaniment Tracks CD

His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful CD Cover

His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful
Vocals by James Loynes

 His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful Accompaniment Tracks CD Cover

His Name Shall Be Called Wonderful
Accompaniment Tracks CD

(All CDS)

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  21 Responses to “Guard Him, Joseph”


    I wanted to thank you for sharing your talent with all of us. Our new ward choir director just picked this for us, and I simply love the music and lyrics. It is such a joy to play and sing your music. I am always happy when I look at new music in choir and it has your name on it.



    My daughter plays the cello and would like to do this with a friend who sings tenor. Could I get a cello part for the tenor music?


    I am the ward choir director and I’m so thankful for your music. On Christmas day we will be doing two of your pieces. My daughter plays the cello and would like to do this with her friend that sings tenor. Could I get a cello part for the tenor version?


    Hello, I am looking for the original 3 flat version of Guard Him, Joseph. You mentioned to someone else to use the Duet version, but my soloist has already learned the 3 flat version and my copy has had an alto added, plus other markings and I would like a fresh copy for tomorrow. Thanks so much. I didn’t think I would have any trouble just printing a new one, but I can’t find it.



    I have an older version of Guard Him, Joseph which is a SATB with 3 flats. Does this version still exist? I have a bad photocopy of it and wanted to print out a fresh one. The Copyright date was 1997.


    I was hoping to have this in SSA version is that possible ?


    I’m looking for a female/male duet copy. It displays one of the versions as a M/F duet but when I look at it it says tenor and bass. What version would be best to use?


    Would it be OK for our ward choir to slightly change the presentation of the 3rd verse of “Guard Him Joseph” (the arrangement that is adapted from “Canon in D”)? Instead of “oohing,” we would have the sopranos sing the melody with the altos, using the “oohed” note. I wanted to make sure this change would fall under the “adapting” for choirs explanation under FAQS.


    To GOD be the glory! For this wonderful song…. I am not a musician nor a singer but through the Holy Spirit I was able to embrace the music and its message…


    I am a ward choir director in Atlanta and I’d like to do the SATB arrangement for Christmas this year. I have already previewed the piece with the choir and they love it! We have a wonderful violinist – could you tweak the violin obliggato to work with the SATB arrangement?

    Thank you! Jacosa is a friend and I have loved listening to your collaborations with her.


    I’m not sure if all of you know this, but there is an obbligato part in the T/B duet version listed above. Hope that helps some of you. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Some friends and I will be performing Guard Him, Joseph for our ward Christmas program. Would it be possible for me to get the obligato for flute?


    I love this music!!! I would like to sing it as a solo for high female voice… I love the words, it sounds like Mary asking Josef all those things for keeping Jesus safe…


    I would really love the flute part too ASAP! Let me know if it is possible to get it!
    Thanks, Lauri Smith


    Our YW and YM are singing this beautiful song. Is it possible to get obligato for the flute, violin, and viola?

    Thank you so much for sharing your talents.


    Heather Hansen


    This song is beautiful. The YW in our ward are going to sing it for our Christmas program.


    sory, my english is not good, but, I would like to get spanish traduction for this song.
    exist ?


    I love this piece. Is there an obligato written for flute or violin or cello? Our temple choir would like to perform this in about three weeks.

    Thank you for all you do and the beautiful music you make available.

    Best regards,
    Jolene Crouch


    My name is Adam Allison. Guard Him Joseph is one of my favorite Christmas Songs. I do not know if this is possible but I would love to be able to do that song as a Trumpet/Piano Solo. I know the words are important but I love the music as well. Thank you for all the music you share.

    Adam Allison

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