The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

O Light Incarnate!

A Carol For St. John The Evangelist

Words: Miss Geneviève Irons

Music: Mr. G. B. Lissant
MIDI / Noteworthy Composer / PDF

Source: Rev. Richard R. Chope, Carols For Use In Church (London: William Clowes & Sons, Complete Edition, 1894), Carol #98

1. O Light Incarnate! Son of God!
Shed Thy bright Birthday beams
Upon our Church, upon our hearts,
In Sacramental streams;
And while we hail Thy Christmas-tide
With solemn Eucharist,
Accept our loving thanks and praise
For Thine Evangelist.

2. John the Divine, whose doctrine glows
As crystal in the sun, --
Translucent with the Light of Light,
The Incarnate Holy One;
His first Apocalypse he saw
In Patmos' sacred isle,
And now he stands, enwrapt, entranced
In God's eternal smile.

3. And Light is shining down from Heaven
To gladden all the earth,
For John's evangel still declares
The Mystery of God's Birth,
And through the darkness of the world,
Led by that Gospel ray,
The Church in perfect safety walks
To light of endless day.

4. So keep us, Jesu, in Thy Truth,
That we at last may rise
Where shadows all shall flee away
Before our opoening eyes,
Transfigured and transformed with him
Whose praise today we sing,
Into Thy Likeness Who art Light,
Its Maker and its King.

5. And grant us even now to see
Here, in this holy place,
Some Revelation of Thyself
In Sacraments of Grace,
Till with Thy loved Evangelist
We reach our Heavenly Rest,
And share his sweet Beatitude,
-- "Leaning on Jesus' Breast."

6. O Son of Mary! Son of God!
To Thee our hymns ascent,
With Father, Spirit, ever One,
We praise Thee without end;
O! by Thine Incarnation, Lord,
Preserve us in Thy Grace,
Till in that Light we see Thy Light
And worship face to face.

Sheet Music from Chope


The feast day of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, occurs on December 27, within the traditional 12 days of Christmas. For more information, see Hymns To St. John The Evangelist.

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