As you can tell, I have a good supply of favorite Christmas carols. I wish I could post audio clips of them, because at least half my pleasure is in the tunes. Or perhaps it’s just as well, because if I knew how to do audio, you would have to listen to me singing, and that would be a disaster.

This is a German carol translated by Catherine Winkworth, who translated a great many famous hymns. This one has a delicate tune that matches the short phrases. I include three verses which I just discovered in the Presbyterian hymnbook – a great trove of hitherto unknown hymn verses. Did you know Rock of Ages originally had 24 verses? (No, even this book doesn’t have all of them.)

All my heart this night rejoices
As I hear,
Far and near,
Sweetest angel voices.
“Christ is born,” their choirs are singing,
Till the air
Ev’rywhere
Now with joy is ringing.

Forth today the Conqu’ror goeth,
Who the foe,
Sin and woe,
Death and hell o’erthroweth.
God is man, man to deliver;
His dear Son
Now is one
With our blood forever.

Shall we still dread God’s displeasure,
Who, to save,
Freely gave
His most cherished Treasure?
To redeem us, he hath given
His own Son
From the throne
Of his might in heaven.

He becomes the Lamb that taketh
Sin away
And for aye
Full atonement maketh.
For our life his own he tenders;
And our race
By his grace
Meet for glory renders.

Hark! a voice from yonder manger,
Soft and sweet,
Doth entreat:
“Flee from woe and danger!
Brethren, come! from all doth grieve you,
You are freed;
All you need
I will surely give you.”

Come, then, let us hasten yonder!
Here let all,
Great and small,
Kneel in awe and wonder!
Love him who with love is yearning!
Hail the star
That from far
Bright with hope is burning!

Thee, dear Lord, with heed I’ll cherish;
Live to thee
Faithfully:
Dying, never perish;
But abide in life eternal,
Where with thee
I shall be
Filled with joy supernal.

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