The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

From Highest Heaven On Joyous Wing

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: R. Massie, Esq.

Music: "Vom Himmel Hoch"
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / XML
Meter: 8 8 8 8 (LM)

Source: J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #65, pp. 98-9.

1. From highest heaven, on joyous wing,
I come to you good news to bring;
Good news I bring, a plenteous store,
Whereof my song shall tell you more.

2. For unto you, this happy morn,
Of Virgin meek and pure, is born
A holy Child, a gentle Boy,
To be your bliss and chiefest joy.

3. It is the Christ, our God indeed,
The very help poor sinners need;
He will Himself your Saviour be,
From sin and sorrow set you free.

4. To you the blessedness He bears,
Which God the Father's love prepares, --
That in His heavenly kingdom blest,
You may with us for ever rest.

5. So mark ye well the signs I shew,
The swaddling bands the manger low;
There shall ye find the young Child laid,
By whom the universe was made.

6. Then let us all right merry be,
And with the shepherds go and see
The gift which God to us hath given,
His own dear Son sent down from heaven.

Mark thou, my heart, look well mine eyes,
What yonder in the manger lies!
What Child is that so wondrous fair?
-- The little Jesus lieth there.

8. Welcome, thrice welcome, noble guest!
The sinner's friend, the mourner's rest;
For coming thus to grief and me,
How can I thank Thee worthily?

9. Ah! mighty Lord, Who madest all,
How couldst Thou make Thyself so small,
To lie upon the coarse dry grass,
The food of humble ox and ass?

10. And were the world ten times as wide,
With gold and jewels beautified,
It would be far too small to be
A little cradle, Lord, for Thee?

11. Thy silk and velvet are coarse hay,
Thy swaddling bands the mean array,
With which e'en Thou, a King so great,
Art clad as with a robe of State.

12. And thus, perhaps, it pleaseth Thee
To make this truth quite plain to me,
That worldly honour, wealth, and might
Are mean and worthless in Thy sight.

13. Ah! Jesus, lay Thy gentle Head,
And make Thyself a clean soft bed
Here in the corner of my heart,
That I and Thou may never part;

14. So will I ever joyful be,
And sing and dance right merrily,
As mothers sing, the cradle nigh,
Their sweetest, softest lullaby.

15. Now praise we God on His high throne,
Who giveth us His only Son!
Such the good news the angels bring,
Such the new year of which they sing.

Sheet Music "A Child's Hymn" from J. H. Hopkins, ed., Great Hymns of the Church Compiled by the Late Right Reverend John Freeman Young (New York: James Pott & Company, 1887), #65, pp. 98-9.

"Proper Melody of 1543.
Harmony from Seeger's 'Evangelische Lieberscha▀.'"

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