The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

This First Day of the Year

On the Circumcision, or New Year's Day, Jan. 1

Author: Luke Waddinge

To the tune of “Neen Major Neal”

One of the "Carols for the Several Days of Christmas"


Luke Waddinge, A Small Garland of Pious & Godly Songs, 1684

Christmas Carols of Waddinge and Devereux

Source: Thomas Wall, A Pious Garland Being the December Letter and Christmas Carols of Luke Wadding (Dublin: M.H. Gill and Son, 1960).

This first day of the year Jesus to us doth give
His pure and precious blood, that we in Him may live;
A most rare New Year’s gift, a greater none can have,
A gift more rich and precious none can desire or crave

This gift brings us great joy and makes us all admire,
It proves His love for us to be all flames and fire,
And for our sake this day Jesus is His sweet name,
A name which cost Him dear, His blood spilt for the same,

This name doth cost Him dear by circumcision’s knife,
For it this day He bleeds and after gives His life;
Covered ‘with costly red, in His own blood He lies,
Prepared to give the rest when on the Cross He dies.

Both heaven and earth admire and do adore Jesus,
To Himself this day severe, and merciful to us;
As soon as He’s made man, and being but eight days old,
For us He gives His blood, more precious than all gold.

But how can circumcision with Jesus’s name agree,
The true mark of a sinner to Saviour joined be?
If circumcised how Saviour, if Saviour why circumcised,
Why should this mark of sinners to Saviour be applied?

What’s done on this great day by circumcised Jesus,
Is comfort and delight, wonder and joy to us;
Who never had beginning, He by whom all begun,
Begins this day the work of our salvation.

Blessed be this New Year’s Day, blessed be the name of Jesus,
Blessed be this day of grace and mercy unto us,
Let’s all put on new hearts to give to our Jesus,
No other New Year’s gift doth He require from us.

Sheet Music “Neen Major Neal” from Joseph Ranson, “The Kilmore Carols” from The Past, no. 5 (1949), p. 88.

song for new years day.jpeg (112844 bytes)

Also found in Joseph Ranson, “The Kilmore Carols” from The Past, no. 5 (1949), pp. pp. 88-89, who had this note:

This Song for New Year's Day was composed by Bishop Luke Wadding, Ep. Ferns, 1686-1691. It was published in the “Pious Garland,” which he “composed for the solace of his friends and neighbors in their afflictions.”

Editor's Note:

The version given by Ranson differs only in the first word of the first line: "The first day of the year Jesus to us doth give."

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