From "Melody Moments"...
Here’s a German Christmas hymn by Gottfried Wilhelm Sacer, who died in 1699. The tune is ERMUNTRE DICH (Lutheran Service Book No. 378).
Awake, my soul, take wing and soar!
What wonderful elation!
Awake, and with the angel choir
Sing out with exultation!
For now God’s sole-begotten Son
Has come from His high heavenly throne,
To make His dwelling bodily
With thee and all the godly.
O Jesus, Savior, meek and kind,
What treasure everlasting,
That thou hast been of such a mind!
O glory all surpassing,
Thou wast clothed in humility.
O gentle Guest, we welcome Thee,
Thou Lamb for sinners given,
Thou lovely Gate of heaven!
O precious Prince of souls, that Thou
Hast taken flesh, becoming
Less than the angels, showeth how,
In love so all-consuming,
Thou wouldst, in Paradise, that we
The very angels’ peers should be!
An earthly home Thou takest;
Our home in heav’n Thou makest.
Thou wast a Guest among us, Lord,
In thirst and hunger living;
Thou heaven’s coffers hast outpoured,
To us Thy riches giving.
Born at the darkest hour of night,
Thou bringest us unto Thy Light.
Our sins’ dark blot Thou bearest;
Us from its maw Thou tearest.
Thou com’st in winter cold and bleak,
With heav’nly springtime teeming;
In stable shadows Thou dost seek
Thy rest, that ever gleaming,
We might in Thee find rest at last.
In swaddling clothes they bind Thee fast;
And so dost Thou deliver
Us from death’s bonds forever.
Thou criest in the cattle stall,
And givest endless laughter;
Though great, Thou art become so small,
To make us great hereafter.
O Savior, very Throne of Grace,
Beloved Son of God: our race
Thou joinest as a Brother,
Born of an earthly mother.
Thou, Lord, who art the slave of men,
The sinner liberatest;
So rich, becomest poor, and then
Thy wealth to us donatest.
Thou bearest patiently all woe;
O ever grant that I also,
In every cross and sorrow,
Thee patiently may follow.
To me, Lord Jesus, kindly grant
From Thy rough little cradle,
A heart to pity those in want,
And help when I am able.
Grant modesty, grant gentleness,
Grant Christlike love and friendliness;
Teach me to love my neighbor,
Unselfishly to labor.
Unstinting Savior, freely send
What always will avail me!
On Thee, strong Lord, do I depend;
I know Thou canst not fail me.
And when no other standeth by,
When soul and flesh dissolve their tie,
Thou wilt from death redeem me,
And I shall ever sing Thee.
IMAGE: La Tour, Georges de (1593-1652). Adoration of the Shepherds. Location: Louvre, Paris, France. Photo Credit: Erich Lessing / Art Resource, NY