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


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.

Charles W. Wendte (1844–1931)


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.