Scripture Verse

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2:10


Martin Luther (1483–1546)

Words: Mar­tin Lu­ther, in Geist­liche Lied­er (Wit­ten­berg, Ger­ma­ny: 1535) (Vom Him­mel hoch da komm ich her). Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Ca­the­rine Wink­worth, Ly­ra Ger­ma­ni­ca (Lon­don & New York: George Newnes & Charles Scrib­ner’s Sons, 1855), pag­es 9–11.

Music: Vom Him­mel hoch, in Geist­liche Lied­er, by Val­en­tin Schu­mann (Leip­zig, Ger­ma­ny: 1539). Har­mo­ny by Jo­hann S. Bach (🔊 pdf nwc).

Catherine Winkworth (1827–1878)


From Hea­ven above to earth I come,
To bear good news to ev­ery home;
Glad tid­ings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing:

To you this night is born a child
Of Ma­ry, chos­en mo­ther mild;
This lit­tle Child, of low­ly birth,
Shall be the joy of all your earth.

’Tis Christ our God, who far on high
Had heard your sad and bit­ter cry;
Himself will your sal­va­tion be,
Himself from sin will make you free.

He brings those bless­ings, long ago
Prepared by God for all be­low;
Henceforth His king­dom op­en stands
To you, as to the an­gel bands.

These are the to­kens ye shall mark,
The swad­dling clothes and man­ger dark;
There shall ye find the young Child laid,
By whom the hea­vens and earth were made.

Now let us all with glad­some cheer
Follow the shep­herds, and draw near
To see this won­drous gift of God,
Who hath His on­ly Son be­stowed.

Give heed, my heart, lift up thine eyes!
Who is it in yon man­ger lies?
Who is this Child so young and fair?
The bless­èd Christ-child li­eth there.

Welcome to earth, Thou no­ble guest,
Through whom e’en wick­ed men are blest!
Thou com’st to share our mi­se­ry,
What can we ren­der, Lord, to Thee!

Ah, Lord, who hast cre­at­ed all,
How hast Thou made Thee weak and small,
That Thou must choose Thy in­fant bed
Where ass and ox but late­ly fed!

Were earth a thou­sand times as fair,
Beset with gold and jew­els rare,
She yet were far too poor to be
A nar­row cra­dle, Lord, for Thee.

For vel­vets soft and silk­en stuff
Thou hast but hay and straw so rough,
Whereon Thou King, so rich and great,
As ’twere Thy hea­ven, art throned in state.

Thus hath it pleased Thee to make plain
The truth to us poor fools and vain,
That this world’s hon­or, wealth and might
Are naught and worth­less in Thy sight.

Ah, dear­est Je­sus, ho­ly Child,
Make Thee a bed, soft, un­de­filed,
Within my heart, that it may be
A qui­et cham­ber kept for Thee.

My heart for ve­ry joy doth leap,
My lips no more can si­lence keep,
I too must sing with joy­ful tongue
That sweet­est an­cient cra­dle-song—

Glory to God in high­est Hea­ven,
Who un­to man His Son hath given!
While an­gels sing with pi­ous mirth
A glad New Year to all the earth.

Lyra Germanica, 1862