The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Into His Arms With Tender Love

For Christmas

Words: Ephraem Syrus (died 379)
"Translated from the German of Zingerie by S. W. Duffield, in Latin Hymn Writers, p. 8."

Music: Not Stated

Source: Bernard Pick, ed., Hymns and Poetry of the Eastern Church (New York: Eaton & Mains, 1908), p. 86.

On the Nativity of Our Lord

Into his arms with tender love
    Did Joseph take his holy Son,
And worshiped him as God, and saw
    The babe like any little one.
His heart rejoiced above him there,
    For now the only God had birth;
And pious fear upon him came
    Before this Judge of all the earth.
Ah, what a lofty wonder !

Who gave me then this precious Son
    Of highest God, to be my child ?
For I against thy mother here
    Had almost been by zeal beguiled;
And I had thought to cast her off β€”
    Alas, I saw not truly then
How in her bosom she should bear
    The costliest treasure known to men,
To make my poverty, so soon.
    The richest lot in mortal ken !

David, that king of ancient days,
    My ancestor, had placed the crown
On his own head, and there it lay ;
    But I sank deep and further down ;
I was no king, but in its stead
    A carpenter, and that alone.
But now may crown my brow again
    That which befits a kingly throne.
For here upon my bosom lies
    The Lord of lords, my very own !

Editor's Note:

This hymn was introduced with the following text by Mr. Pick on p. 85:

Ephraem Syrus

The greatest of all hymn writers whose works are extant, and whose hymns have been translated into German as well as into English, was Ephraem Syrus. His hymns are regarded by critics as among the finest of the Eastern Church, being characterized by deep devotional feeling, and force and beauty of imagery. "They seem remarkable for childlike simplicity and much tenderness of natural feeling. There is a simple joyousness about his thanksgivings. He seems to have loved to dwell on such themes as the infancy of the Saviour, the hosannas of the children, the happiness of those who died in childhood" (“The Voice of Christian Life in Song," p. 46).

See: Elizabeth Rundle Charles, ed., The Voice of Christian Life in Song (New York: Robert Carter & Brothers, 1859).

Mr. Pick also wrote that "… the Syrian Church … was the first of all the Oriental churches to produce and admit into public worship a popular orthodox poetry, and this was successfully done by Ephraem the Syrian, "the guitar of the Holy Ghost."

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