Scripture Verse

An angel of the Lord appeared…and…said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:9–11

Introduction

portrait
Robert E. Prutz
(1816–1872)

Words: Ro­bert E. Prutz (1816–1872) (Heil­ge Nacht, auf En­gel­schwing­en). Trans­lated from Ger­man to Eng­lish by Charles W. Wendte in The Pa­ci­fic Un­i­tar­i­an, Vol­ume 3, num­ber 3 (San Fran­cis­co, Ca­li­for­nia, Jan­u­a­ry 1895), page 90, alt.

Music: En­gel­schwin­gen, Charles W. Wendte, Heart and Voice (Bo­ston, Mas­sa­chu­setts: George H. El­lis, 1909) (🔊 pdf nwc) (re­peats last 2 lines of each stan­za). The in­dex ident­i­fies Wendte as the com­pos­er.

illustration
Shepherds Abiding in the Fields
Carl H. Bloch (1834–1890)

Lyrics

Softly now, on angel pinions
Draw’st thou nearer, Holy Night,
And I hear the joy-bells ringing,
See the windows all alight.
E’en the humblest home rejoices,
While, in accents clear and strong,
To the Christ-child, children’s voices
Lift their thankful hearts in song.

With a fullness of sweet music,
Heav’nly glow on plain and height,
As the world did once behold thee,
Thou returnest, Holy Night.
’Neath the starlight, sunk in shadow,
Palm trees rustling soft above,
Earth and Heav’n were interchanging
Messages of peace and love.

Then, from rosy-tinted portals,
Opened by God’s mighty hand,
Issued forth celestial radiance,
Shining over sea and land.
There, angelic forms descending,
Bring glad tidings to the earth,
While the heights and depths resounding,
Tell a heav’nly Savior’s birth.

Lo! sweet Mary’s child adoring,
Orient kings, with myrrh and gold,
Kneel beside the happy shepherds,
Guided by the star of old.
While the holy mother bending
O’er the Babe upon her knee,
As His wondrous gaze fell on her,
Thrilled with nameless ecstasy.

Holy Night, in starry splendor,
Solemn rising on our eyes,
O within our hearts rise likewise,
Star of Life, in us arise!
See, in Heav’n and earth what rapture,
Where thy roseate beams do fall!
Surely, peace once more will bless us,
Love shall be enthroned o’er all.