1 "From heav'n above to earth I come
to bear good news to ev'ry home;
glad tidings of great joy I bring,
whereof I now will say and sing:
2 "To you this night is born a child
of Mary, chosen virgin mild;
this little child of lowly birth
shall be the joy of all the earth.
3 "This is the Christ, our God most high,
who hears your sad and bitter cry;
he will himself your Savior be
from all your sins to set you free.
4 "He will on you the gifts bestow
prepared by God for all below,
that in his kingdom bright and fair,
you may with us his glory share.
5 "These are the signs which you shall mark:
the swaddling clothes and manger dark.
There you will find the infant laid
by whom the heav'ns and earth were made."
6 How glad we'll be to find it so!
Then with the shepherds let us go
to see what God for us has done
in sending us his own dear Son.
7 Come here, my friends, lift up your eyes,
and see what in the manger lies.
Who is this child, so young and fair?
It is the Christ Child lying there.
8 Welcome to earth, O noble Guest,
through whom this sinful world is blest!
You came to share my misery,
that you might share your joy with me.
9 Ah, Lord, though you created all,
how weak you are, so poor and small,
that you should choose to lay your head
where lowly cattle lately fed!
10 Were earth a thousand times as fair,
and set with gold and jewels rare,
it would be far too poor and small
a cradle for the Lord of all.
11 Instead of soft and silken stuff
you have but hay and straw so rough
on which as king, so rich and great,
to be enthroned in royal state.
12 And so it pleases you to see
this simple truth revealed to me:
that worldly honor, wealth, and might
are weak and worthless in your sight.
13 Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
prepare a bed, soft, undefiled
within my heart, made clean and new
a quiet chamber kept for you.
14 My heart for very joy must leap;
my lips no more can silence keep.
I too must sing with joyful tongue
that sweetest ancient cradle song:
15 Glory to God in highest heaven,
who unto us his Son has given,
while angels sing in pious mirth
a glad new year to all the earth!
Source: Christian Worship: Hymnal #331
|First Line:||From Heaven above to earth I come To bear good news to every home|
|Title:||From Heaven Above to Earth I Come|
|German Title:||Von Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her|
|Author:||Martin Luther (1535)|
all st. = Luke 2:10-14
Written by Martin Luther (PHH 336) for his family's Christmas Eve devotions, this text (originally "Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her") was first published in Joseph Klug's (PHH 126) Geistliche Lieder (1535) in fifteen stanzas. Luther intended that stanzas 1-7 be sung by a man dressed as an angel and stanzas 8-15 by children.
As the basis for his first stanza, Luther revised the old folk song "Aus Fremden Landenkomm ich hier." Also called a "garland" song, "Aus Fremden" was used traditionally as a chorus in a game of riddles that involved the taking of garlands if a riddle was not solved.
The English translation is primarily the work of Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194), from her Lyra Germanica (1855). However, numerous hymnal editors have revised her translation. From the original fifteen stanzas the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee chose to include five-the familiar narrative stanzas based on Luke 2:10-14.
Stanzas 1-4 contain the angels' words to the shepherds. Stanza 5 is the angel chorus (Luke 2:14), which we all sing as we share in the shepherds' and angels' joy. (For a similar narrative Christmas hymn on the same biblical text, see 215.)
Christmas Day worship service; Christmas festival of lessons and carols, especially with the dramatic performance style Luther intended (suggested above); church school programs.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook