I bring you good news of great joy. Luke 2:10
Words: Charles Coffin, written for Matins of Christmas Day in the Paris Breviary, 1736 (Jam desinant suspiria). Translated from Latin to English by William J. Blew, The Church Hymn and Tune Book (London: Francis & John Rivington, 1852), Christmas section, number 14.
Let sighing cease and woe
God from on high hath heard,
Heaven’s gate is opening wide, and lo!
The long expected Word.
Peace—through the deep of night
The heavenly choir breaks forth,
Singing with festal songs and bright,
Our God and Savior’s birth.
The cave of Bethlehem
Those wakeful shepherds seek;
Let us, too, rise and greet with them
That infant pure and meek.
We enter—at the door
What marvel meets the eye?
A crib, a mother pale and poor,
A child of poverty.
Art Thou the eternal Son,
The eternal Father’s ray?
Whose little hand, Thou infant one,
Doth lift the world alway?
Yea—faith through that dim cloud,
Like lightning darts before,
And greets Thee, at whose footstool bowed
Heaven’s trembling hosts adore.
Our Master—silent yet,
Thou teachest from Thy chair;
Shun that on which thy flesh is set;
What flesh abhorreth—bear.
Chaste be our love like Thine,
Our swelling souls bring low,
And in our hearts, O Babe divine
Be born, abide and grow.
So shall Thy birthday morn,
Lord Christ, our birthday be,
Then greet we all, ourselves newborn,
Our King’s nativity.
Born at a virgin’s beast,
Jesu, be praise to Thee,
With Sire and Holy Spirit blest,
Through all eternity.