The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

From Heaven On High I Come To You

For Christmas Eve

Words: Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, by Martin Luther
From Joseph Klug's Gesangsbuch, 1535
Notes and Translations: Notes for Vom Himmel Hoch Da Komm Ich Her

Text based on Luke 2: 1-18

Translation: Dr. George Macdonald

Source: Thomas Guthrie, ed., The Sunday Magazine for 1867 (London: Strahan & Co., 1867), January 1, 1867, pp. 255-256.



From heaven on high I come to you,
I bring a story good and new:
Of goodly news so much I bring —
Of it I must both speak and sing.

To you a child is come this morn,
A child of holy maiden born;
A little babe so sweet and mild,
It is a joy to see the child.

Tis Jesus Christ, our Lord and God.
He us will ease of all our load;
He will himself our Saviour be,
And from all sinning set us free.

He brings the gladness which of yore
For you the Father had in store,
That you must in his heavenly house
Live now and evermore with us.

And this shall be the sign to you —
The crib, the swathing clothes so few.
Go find the infant just laid there,
Who all the world doth hold and bear.

Let all of us then gladsome be,
And with tho shepherds go and see
What wondrous thing our God hath given,
Sent with his dear Son down from heaven.

Take heed, my heart. There ! stooping go.
What lies there in the manger low ?
Whose is the lovely little child ?
It is the darling Jesus-child.

Welcome to us, thou noble guest!
With sinners thou dost lie and rest.
Thou com'st into my misery—
What thanks have I to bring to thee !

Ah Lord ! the maker of us all!
How hast thou grown so poor and small,
That there thou liest on withered grass,
The supper of the ox and ass?

Were the world wider manyfold,
And decked with gems and cloth of gold,
'Twere far too mean and narrow all,
To make for thee a cradle small.

Rough hay, and linen not too fine—
The silk and velvet that are thine!
Yet, as they were thy kingdom great,
Thou liest in them in royal state.

And this, all this, hath pleased thee,
That thou mightst bring this truth to me,
That earth's power, honour, good combined
Are nothing to thy mighty mind.

Beloved Jesus! for thy head
Make thou a soft, white little bed,
And lay thee in my heart's low shring,
That so my heart be always thine.

That so I always gladsome be,
Ready to dance and sing to thee
The lullaby thou lovest best,
With heart exulting in its guest.

Glory to God in highest heaven!
For he to us his son hath given.
For this the angels' heart and voice
Sing in the year with gladsome noise.

Editor's Note:

This is the original form of the hymn. It was altered and reprinted by Macdonald in his Exotics, 1876. See: From Heaven On High I Come To You.

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