The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

A Song of Joy Unto The Lord We Sing

For Christmas Day

Words: George Wither

Music: Orlando Bloom

'Sing this as the Forty-sixth Song.'

Source: George Wither, Hymns and Songs of the Church (London: Printed by the Assigns of George Wither, 1623, reprinted London: John Russell Smith, 1856), Song XLVII, pp. 182-183.

See: George Wither's Hymns of the Christmas-tide

1. A Song of Joy unto the Lord we sing,
And publish forth the favours he hath shown :
We sing his praise, from whom all joy doth spring,
And tell abroad the wonders he hath done ;
For such were never since the world begun.
    His love, therefore, oh! let us all corfess ;
    And to the sons of men his works express.

2. As on this day the Son of God was born,
The blessed Word was then incarnate made ;
The Lord to be a servant held no scorn ;
The Godhead was with human nature clad,
And flesh a throne above all Angels had.
        His love, therefore, &c.

3. Our sin and sorrows on himself he took,
On us his bliss and goodness to bestow :
To visit earth, he Heaven awhile forsook ;
And to advance us high, descended low ;
But with the sinful angels dealt not so.
        His love, therefore, &c.

4. A maid conceiv'd, whom man had never known :
The fleece was moistened, where no rain had been :
A virgin she remains that had a son :
The bush did flame that still remained green :
And this befell, when God with us was seen.
        His love, therefore, &c.

5. For sinful men all this to pass was brought,
As, long before, the Prophets had forespoke :
So he, that first our shame and ruin wrought,
Once bruis'd our heel, but now his head is broke :
And he hath made us whole, who gave that stroke.
        His love, therefore, &c.

6. The Lamb hath play'd devouring wolves among,
The morning star of Jacob doth appear ;
From Jesse's root our tree of life is sprung,
And all God's words (in him) fulfilled are :
Yet we are slack his praises to declare.
        His love, therefore, &c.

Sheet Music by Orlando Bloom (1623), from George Wither, Hymns and Songs of the Church (London: Printed by the Assigns of George Wither, 1623, reprinted by the Spencer Society, 1881), pp. 135-136.

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Note from the text, p. 180.

This day is worthily dedicated to be observed in remembrance of the blessed Nativity of our Redeemer Jesus Christ : at which time it pleased the Almighty Father to send his only begotten Son into the world for our sakes ; and by an unspeakable union to join in one person God and Man, without confusion of natures, or possibility of separation. To express, therefore, our thankfulness, and the joy we ought to have in this love of God, there hath been anciently, and is yet continued in England (above other countries), a neighbourly and plentiful hospitality in inviting, and (without invitation) receiving unto our well-furnished tables, our tenants, neighbours, friends, and Grangers ; to the honour of our nation, and increase of amity and free-hearted kindness among us. But, most of all, to the refreshing of the bowels of the poor, being the most Christian use of such festivals. Which charitable and good English custom hath of late been seasonably re-advanced by his Majesty's gracious care, in commanding our Nobility and Gentry to repair (especially at such times) to their country mansions.

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