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, 1531 (Vom Him­mel hoch da komm ich her). Trans­lat­ed from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Ri­chard Mas­sie, 1854.

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

If you know where to get a good pho­to of Mas­sie (head & shoul­ders, at least 200×300 pix­els),

Johann S. Bach (1685–1750)


From high­est Hea­ven, on joy­ous wing,
I come to you good news to bring;
Good news I bring, a plen­te­ous store,
Whereof my song shall tell you more.

For un­to you, this hap­py morn,
Of vir­gin meek and pure, is born
A ho­ly Child, a gen­tle boy,
To be your bliss and chief­est joy.

It is the Christ, our God in­deed,
The ve­ry help poor sin­ners need;
He will Him­self your Sav­ior be,
From sin and sor­row set you free.

To you the bless­ed­ness He bears,
Which God the Fa­ther’s love pre­pares,
That in His hea­ven­ly king­dom blest,
You may with us for ev­er rest.

So mark ye well the signs I show,
The swad­dling bands, the man­ger low;
There shall ye find the young Child laid,
By whom the uni­verse was made.

Then let us all right mer­ry be,
And with the shep­herds go and see
The gift which God to us hath giv­en,
His own dear Son sent down from Hea­ven.

Mark thou, my heart, look well mine eyes,
What yonder in the man­ger lies!
What Child is that so won­drous fair?
The lit­tle Je­sus li­eth there.

Welcome, thrice wel­come, noble Guest!
The sin­ner’s friend, the mourn­er’s rest;
For com­ing thus to grief and me,
How can I thank Thee wor­thi­ly?

Ah! migh­ty Lord, who mad­est all,
How couldst Thou make Thy­self so small,
To lie up­on the coarse dry grass,
The food of hum­ble ox and ass?

And were the world ten times as wide,
With gold and jew­els beau­ti­fied,
It would be far too small to be
A lit­tle cra­dle, Lord, for Thee.

Thy silk and vel­vet are coarse hay,
Thy swad­dling bands the mean ar­ray,
With which e’en Thou, a king so great,
Art clad as with a robe of state.

And thus, per­haps, it pleas­eth Thee
To make this truth quite plain to me,
That world­ly hon­or, wealth, and might
Are mean and worth­less in Thy sight.

Ah! Je­sus, lay Thy gen­tle head,
And make Thy­self a clean, soft bed
Here in the cor­ner of my heart,
That I and Thou may ne­ver part.

So will I ev­er joy­ful be,
And sing and dance right mer­ri­ly,
As mo­thers sing, the cra­dle nigh,
Their sweet­est, soft­est lul­la­by.

Now praise we God on His high throne,
Who giv­eth us His on­ly Son!
Such the good news the an­gels bring,
Such the new year of which they sing.