The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christ the Deliverer

Third Sunday in Advent

Words: Paul Gerhardt, 1653.
Trans. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)

See: Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth

Source: Lyra Germanica: First Series, Songs for the Household, 1855

And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.     From the Lesson

How shall I meet thee? How my heart
    Receive her Lord aright?
Desire of all the earth Thou art!
    My hope, my sole delight!
Kindle the lamp, Thou Lord, alone,
    Half-dying in my breast,
And make Thy gracious pleasure known
    How I may greet Thee best.

Her budding boughs and fairest palms
    Thy Zion strews around;
And songs of praise and sweetest psalms
    From my glad heart shall sound.
My desert soul breaks forth in flowers,
    Rejoicing in Thy fame;
And puts forth all her sleeping powers,
    To honour Jesus' name.

In heavy bonds I languish'd long,
    Thou com'st to set me free;
The scorn of every mocking tongue --
    Thou com'st to honour me.
A heavenly crown wilt Thou bestow,
    And gifts of priceless worth,
That vanish not as here below
    The fading of the earth.

Nought, nought, dear Lord, had power to move
    Thee from Thy rightful place,
Save that most strange and blessed Love
    Wherewith Thou dost embrace
This weary world and all her woe,
    Her load of grief and ill
And sorrow, more than man can know; --
    Thy love is deeper still.

Oh write this promise in your heart,
    Ye sorrowful, on whom
Fall thickening cares, while joy departs
    And darker grows your gloom.
Despair not, for your help is near,
    He standeth at the door
Who best can comfort you and cher,
    He comes, nor stayeth more.

Nor vex your souls with care, nor grieve
    And labour longer thus,
As though your arm could ought achieve,
    And bring Him down to us.
He comes, He comes with ready will
    By pity moved alone,
To sooth our every grief and ill,
    For all to Him are known.

Nor ye, O sinners, shrink aside,
    Afraid to see His face,
Your darkest sins our Lord will hide
    Beneath His pitying grace.
He comes, He comes, to save from sin,
    And all its pangs assuage,
And for the sons of God to win
    Their proper heritage.

Why heed ye then the craft and noise,
    The fury of His foes?
Lo, in a breath the Lord destroys
    All who His rule oppose.
He comes, He comes, as King to reign!
    All earthly powers may band
Against Him, yet they strive in vain,
    His might may none withstand.

He comes to judge the earth, and ye
    Who mock'd Him, feel His wrath;
But they who loved and sought Him see
    His light o'er all their path.
O Sun of Righteousness! arise,
    And guide us on our way
To yon fair mansion in the skies
    Of joyous cloudless day.

Note: According to Winkworth, selected from Chevalier (Christian Karl Josias) Bunsen (1791-1860), ed., Versuch eines allgemeinen Gesang und Gebetbuchs (1833).

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