Tuesday, December 22, 2009

We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth

This Christmas hymn from Lutheran Service Book is a translation of Luther's text (st. 2-7) (Stanza 1 is German c. 1380.)  Multiple translators worked in this text for Lutheran Service Book (LSB 382) including Gregory Wismar, st. 1, 6;  F. Samuel Janzow, st. 2, 4;  Lutheran Service Book st, 3, 5, 7.  The tune is GELOBET SEIST DU from Eyn Enchiridion oder Handbeuchlein, Erfurt, 1524.

1.  We praise You, Jesus, at Your birth;
     Clothed in flesh You came to earth.
          The virgin bears a sinless boy
          And all the angels sing for joy.

2.  Now in the manger we may see
     God's Son from eternity,
          The gift from God's eternal throne
          Here clothed in our poor flesh and bone.

3.  The virgin Mary's lullaby
     Calms the infant Lord Most High.
          Upon her lap content is He
          Who keeps the earth and sky and sea.

4.  The Light Eternal, breaking through,
     Made the world to gleam anew;
          His beams have pierced the core of night,
          He makes us children of the light.

5.  The very Son of God sublime
     Entered into earthly time
          To lead us from this world of cares
          To heav'ns courts as blessed heirs.

6.  In poverty He came to earth
     Showing mercy by His birth;
          He makes us rich in heav'nly ways
          As we, like angels, sing His praise.

7.  All this for us our God has done
     Granting love through His own Son.
          Therefore, all Christendom, rejoice
          And sing His praise with endless voice.


Essay said...

Thank you for sharing, I like it worth reading.

Anonymous said...

Pr. Starke,

Any insight into why English translations always replace "Kyrieleis" with "Alleluia" in this hymn?

amelithpastor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
amelithpastor said...

I would guess because the melodic musical emphasis and high note on "Kyrieleis" and "Alleluia" matches the strong third syllable on both words. It doesn't match as well or sing as well or sound in the ear as well on "Lord, have MERcy." That "ER" sound is a difficult one to sing and have it sound well as it's stretched over that longer note. That could be a possible explanation. Theologically, "Alleluia" is certainly a fine response to the truths being expressed in this Christmas hymn.

PMagness said...

This is one of those hymns many don't know - but really like once they learn it. I taught it to our day school kids a few years ago and they really dug it.

Another classic not often sung but similarly enjoyed upon learning is "Oh, Rejoice, Ye Christians, Loudly". The kids at Bethany couldn't get enough of that this year. :)

In so many places, the problem is not that our hymnody has be tried and found wanting.....it is that it is not even tried.

amelithpastor said...

That is very true...great hymns of the faith have been overlooked and lesser songs get sung instead. One hopes and prays that LSB will have a salutary influence on the worship life of our church body over time.