The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Carol I. The Christmas Morning Salutation

Christmas Comes, The Time of Gladness

For Christmas

Words: Anonymous.

Music: Handel's Saul

Source: Christmas Carols, or Sacred Songs, Suited to the Festival of our Lord's Nativity (London: John William Parker, 1833), pp 18-21.

Christmas comes, the time of gladness,
Which our fathers gave to mirth: 
Then no room had they for sadness;
Joyous at the Saviour's birth. 
Then each homestead, decked with holly,
Bay, and ivy leaves, was seen, 
Winter's brow of melancholy
Cheering with a chaplet green.

Then kind looks, with pleasure beaming,
Blazing hearth, and festive fare, 
Hearts with social feelings teeming,
Welcomed joy, and banished care. 
While, with early salutation,
Loud the parish bells were rung, 
And in tones of gratulation
Many a village carol sung.

In our fathers' footsteps treading,
We this Christmas morning greet: 
Fear not aught to evil leading,
Word unholy, thought unmeet;
While dull care and anxious sorrow 
To the worldly-wise we fling,
At your windows bid good morrow, 
And our yearly carols sing.

If from hearts, with mirth o'erflowing,
Fall at times too light an air, 
'Mid the golden harvest growing,
Fain we'd pluck each hurtful tare : 
In our cup of blameless pleasure
Drops of health we'd fain impart, 
Seeking by our sportive measure
Through the ear to touch the heart.

Joy to all, this hallowed season !
Cheerful boards, this closing year ! 
Wholesome mirth, controlled by reason ;
Ruled by temperance. Wholesome cheer 
Christ, who all mankind to gladden,
So his angel sang, was born, 
Wills not Christian hearts to sadden
On his happy natal morn.

Joy to all! But let the leaven
Mingle not of earth therein ! 
Think of Him, who left his heaven
To destroy the taint of sin : 
Think on His dislike of evil,
On His birth and nature pure; 
Nor with rash intemperate revel
Chafe the wound he came to cure !

Joy to you of lofty station,
You of noble, gentle, blood ! 
But, amid your elevation,
Cherish thoughts of sober mood. 
Think of Him, the heavenly stranger,
Who this day was born for you, 
Heaven's high throne, and Bethlehem's manger;
And the pride of life subdue !

Joy to you, whose earthly treasure
Cheers the heart and charms the eye ! 
Covet yet a nobler pleasure
Than your hoarded heaps supply. 
Think on Him, who left his riches, 
And became for your sakes poor, 
And a part from you beseeches 
For his brethren from your store!

Joy to you, ye poor and lowly !
If despised, distrest your lot, 
Think on Him, the High, the Holy,
When he sought this earthly spot. 
Who the name, all names excelling
Shrouded in a menial shed ; 
Chose a stable for his dwelling,
And a manger for his bed !

Joy to all, with health attending,
Wish we, such as earth may yield ; 
Joy celestial, never-ending,
By the Saviour's coming seal'd ! 
So farewell, we kindly greet you ;
Happy be this Christmas morn, 
Till in God's own house we meet you,
Hymning Him this morning born !

Sheet Music from Christmas Carols, or Sacred Songs, Suited to the Festival of our Lord's Nativity (London: John William Parker, 1833), pp 20-21.

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