Saturday, 28 March 2015

Good News From Heaven The Angels Bring - Luther's Timeless Classic Christmas hymn

Martin Luther, who contributed much to the Reformation cause through his hymns, which are known by every peasant in Germany, and for which in most instances he has furnished his own melody, has given us one of the very best and most meaningful of our Christmas hymns.

Luther's Christmas hymn

Good news from heaven the angels bring,
Glad tidings to the earth they sing:
To us this day a Child is given,
To crown us with the joy of heaven.

This is the Christ, our God and Lord,
Who in all need shall aid afford;
He will Himself our Saviour be,
From all our sins to set us free.

To us that blessedness He brings,
Which from the Father's bounty springs:
That in the heavenly realm we may
With Him enjoy eternal day.

All hail! Thou noble Guest, this morn.
Whose Love did not the sinner scorn:
In my distress Thou comest to me;
What thanks shall I return to Thee?

Were earth a thousand times as fair.
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
She yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.

Praise God upon His heavenly throne,
Who gave to us His only Son:
For this His hosts, on joyful wing,
A blest New Year of mercy sing.

The original of this carol, we are told, Luther wrote for his little son Hans when he was only five years old. It is still sung at daybreak on Christmas morning by singers standing in the dome of the "Kreuz Kirche" in Dresden. Luther wrote it in 1535. The translation which is in most common use is by Miss Winkworth. The music bears the date of 1539 and has come down to us with the words as one of the glad notes of the Christmas time.

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