Wednesday, September 7, 2022

327. Hymn for Christmas 1 (Series A)

My project to complete an original hymn for every Sunday of the Church Year (three-year lectionary) continues. Since my previous hymnographic tour of the Church Year focused on Sundays only (with feast days in a separate section), I'm going to skip such lines on the Lutheran Service Book three-year series as "Christmas Eve," "Christmas Midnight," "Christmas Dawn," "Christmas Day" and whatnot, and call my obligation to write hymns for the church's holy days fulfilled. So, I move directly from Advent 4 (the Sunday before Christmas" to Christmas 1 (the first, and often only, Sunday after Christmas before Epiphany). Texts for this service are Isaiah 63:7-14, Galatians 4:4-7 and Matthew 2:13-23, and I touched (at least lightly) on each of them in this hymn.

This little slip of a hymn could fit several rather charming tunes, including the Danish melody DEJLIG ER DEN HIMMEL BLAA ("Bright and glorious is the sky") and two different tunes titled WEIL ICH JESU SCHÄFLEIN BIN ("I am Jesus' little lamb"). I chose the WEIL ICH JESU that I'm more familiar with; for the other, check out hymn 556 in the Common Service Book.

Faithful children, let us raise
To our Lord abundant praise
For His mercies, rich in number.
Oh, rejoice! Arise from slumber!
Bear Him witness! Cease to mourn:
Our Salvation has been born!

God showed goodness to our race,
Covering our sins with grace.
By His presence He redeemed us;
Sons and heirs with Him esteemed us;
In the fullness of the time
Called us out from heathen clime.

Praise we now the virgin's Son,
From eternity the One
With the Father, Sole-Begotten
Word, His wonders ne'er forgotten.
Bear Him witness! Cease to mourn:
Our Salvation has been born!

EDIT: As evidence of my claim to have discharged my duty as a scribbler of Christmas hymns, let me remind you of "Nativity Hymn" (you'll have to scroll down; it's "Hymn 0" in this blog's weird numbering system). And "Christmas Hymn for the Unborn." And a "Christmas Season Hymn." All those are in Useful Hymns, along with several translated Christmas hymns and existing Christmas hymns set to original tunes. Moving on to Edifying Hymns, you'll also find an original "Christmas Carol," a "Sacramental Christmas Hymn," and a "Christmas Prayer for the Lonely." I can't promise I won't revisit the subject, but yeah. I'm not hurting for Christmas songs.

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