The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Bright, Bright, In Silver Light

Alternate Title: Joy! Joy! Your Lord is Born

For Christmas Eve

Words: Anonymous

Music: Unknown

Meter: 6 7 8 7

Source: The Book of Christmas Hymns (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1868), pp. 9-10.

1. Bright, bright, in silver light,
The morning stars were shining;
And shepherds watching o'er their flocks,
Were on their staves reclining.

2. Clear, clear, so very near,
A burst of music sounding;
That flocks and shepherds rose at once,
With swelling hearts rebounding.

3. Loud, loud, the chorus grew,
Till all the air was swelling;
And from the heavens came a voice,
That heavenly news was telling.

4. 'Joy! joy! Your Lord is born!'
The heavenly voice was saying;
While kneeling on the frosty ground,
The shepherds all were praying.

5. 'Peace, peace, on earth be peace,
Good will to brothers greeting;
Arise, and hasten to the Babe,
Fast in the stable sleeping.

6. 'Praise, praise, to God be praise,
And glory in the highest;
All praise to Thee, O new-born Babe,
Who in the manger liest.'

7. Praise, praise, the Spirit praise,
The Holy Dove descending;
Who, with the Father and the Son,
Shall reign through days unending.


The earliest publication of this carol that I've found was in Sunday School Hymns. Diocese of Michigan. (New York: General Protestant Episcopal Sunday School Union and Church Book Society, 1866), No. 12, pp. 14-15. However, the carol was well known before that time as evidenced by a story in the New York Times on Dec. 25, 1862. The tune to this carol was performed on Christmas Day, 1862, at Trinity Church, New York.

One of the observers would have been Rev. John F. Young whose new carol, "Silent Night, Holy Night", was performed during services on Christmas Eve.


Celebration of Christmas Eve at Trinity Church-NY-1862.

The New York Times

December 25, 1862

The children of the Sunday School connected with Trinity Church, held their Christmas Festival yesterday afternoon in Trinity Church. The aisles, pulpit, chancel, and organ loft were beautifully decorated with evergreens. Shortly before 3 o'clock, the children filed into the Church, and occupied seats in the centre aisle. The celebration commenced by the children singing the "Adeste Fideles;" after which Rev. Dr. OGILBY delivered an address, terse and simple, which delighted the children immensely. Then the Christmas Carol, composed by Mr. CUTLER was sung, commencing:

"Again the hour is pealing
When Jesus left the sky;
All worlds before Him kneeling
For man to bleed and die.

Chorus -- Ring, bells! ring sweetly ever,
Till Christ shall come again,
And from the graves deliver
His Saints, with Him to reign."

At the conclusion of the chorus, the bells of Trinity rang out an echo with most charming effect. Then "The Christmas Tree," composed by the Rev. Dr. OGILBY, was sung with marked effect, which closed the vocal celebration of the day.

Immediately all eyes were turned toward the middle porch, in which the principal feature of the day. In the eyes of the children, was to be seen. This feature was a large Christmas tree, nearly twenty feet high, ladened with nearly every conceivable kind of holiday trinket, and brilliantly lighted with Chinese lamps. Around this tree the children marched, and as each one passed by, was presented with a Christmas gift. This concluded the celebration, and, with beaming eyes and cheerful hearts, the Sunday-school scholars left for their respective homes.

During the afternoon the bellringer of Trinity, Mr. JAMES E. AYLIFFE, rang out the following changes and tunes upon the chimes:

1. Ringing the changes on eight bells.

2. Christmas Carol -- "Silent Night, Holy Night."

3. Rondo, with variations in major and minor keys, composed for Trinity Church Chimes, by GEORGE F. BRISTOW.

4. Christmas Carol.

5. Evening Bells.

6. Christmas Carol -- "Once in Royal David's City."

7. Vesper Hymn.

This morning at 11 o'clock the usual Episcopal services will be conducted by Rev. Dr. VINTON. Previous to the services the bells will ring forth the subjoined tunes:

1. Ringing the changes on eight bells.

2. Christmas Carol -- "Hosanna to King David's Son."

3. Rondo, with variations, arranged by GEORGE F. BRISTOW.

4. Christmas Carol -- "Bright, Bright in Silver Light."

5. Samson, from HANDEL's Chorus -- "Then Round About the Starry Heavens."

6. Old Hundred.

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