Scripture Verse

Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2


Michael Praetorius

Words: From a 14th Cen­tu­ry Ben­e­dic­tine pro­cess­ion­al (Pu­er na­tus in Beth­le­hem). Trans­lat­ed from La­tin to Eng­lish by Hen­ry I. D. Ry­der in An­nus Sanc­tus, Vol­ume 1, ed­it­ed by Or­by Ship­ley (Lon­don & New York: Burns & Oates, 1884), pag­es 27–28, alt.

Music: Pu­er No­bis Nas­ci­tur Tri­er man­us­cript, 15th Cen­tu­ry. Adapt­ed by Mi­chael Prae­tor­i­us, 1609. Har­mo­ny by George R. Wood­ward, 1910 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:


A Boy is born in Bethlehem,
Joy bringing to Jerusalem.
He lieth in a manger poor
Whose kingdom shall for aye endure.

The ox and ass knew and adored
The Infant that was Christ the Lord.
The kings of Saba came to bring
Gold, myrrh and incense to their king.

The offspring He of virgin bright,
Made mother by high Heaven’s might.
One after one the cot forlorn
Entering, they hail their prince new born.

The serpent’s venom knew Him not,
Though of our blood He chose His lot:
Made like to us in human kin,
Unlike us in respect of sin.

That like Him He might make us be,
And with Himself and God agree.
In this birth’s joy let all accord,
And bless for ever Christ the Lord.