by Martin Luther, 1483-1546
1. "From heaven above to earth I come
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring,
Whereof I now will say and sing:
Of Mary, chosen virgin mild;
This little child, of lowly birth,
Shall be the joy of all the earth.
Who in all need shall aid afford;
He will Himself your Savior be
From all your sins to set you free.
Prepared by God for all below,
That in His kingdom, bright and fair,
You may with us His glory share.
The swaddling-clothes and manger dark;
There ye shall find the Infant laid
By whom the heavens and earth were made."
Go with the shepherds and draw near
To see the precious gift of God,
Who hath His own dear Son bestowed.
What is it in yon manger lies?
Who is this child, so young and fair?
The blessed Christ-child lieth there.
Through whom the sinful world is blest!
Thou com'st to share my misery;
What thanks shall I return to Thee?
How weak art Thou, how poor and small,
That Thou dost choose Thine infant bed
Where humble cattle lately fed!
Beset with gold and jewels rare,
It yet were far too poor to be
A narrow cradle, Lord, for Thee.
Thou hast but hay and straw so rough,
Whereon Thou, King, so rich and great,
As 'twere Thy heaven, art throned in state.
To make this truth quite plain to me,
That all the world's wealth, honor, might,
Are naught and worthless in Thy sight.
Make Thee a bed, soft, undefiled,
Within my heart, that it may be
A quiet chamber kept for Thee.
My lips no more can silence keep;
I, too, must sing with joyful tongue
That sweetest ancient cradle-song:
Who unto us His Son hath given!
While angels sing with pious mirth
A glad new year to all the earth.
Text: Luke 2: 1-18
Author: Martin Luther, 1535
Tune: Vom Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her
Translated by: Catherine Winkworth, 1855, alt.
1st published in: "Geistliche Lieder" Leipzig, 1539