The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Manifestation of the Light of the World


Words: Rist, 1655.
Trans. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)

See: Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth

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

Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee!

From the Lesson

All ye Gentile lands awake!
    Thou, O Salem, rise and shine!
See the day-spring o'er you break,
    Heralding a morn divine,
Telling, God hath call'd to mind
Those who long in darkness pined.

Lo! the shadows flee away,
    For our Light is come at length,
Brighter than all earthly day,
    Source of being, life, and strength!
Whoso on this Light would gaze
Must forsake all evil ways.

Ah how blindly did we stray
    Ere shone forth this glorious Sun,
Seeking each his separate way,
    Leaving Heaven, unsought, unwon;
All our looks were earthward bent,
All our strength on earth was spend.

Earthly were our thoughts and low,
    In the toils of Folly caught,
Toss'd of Satan to and fro,
    Counting goodness all for nought;
By the world and flesh deceived,
heaven's true joys we disbelieved.

Then were hidden from our eyes
    All the law and grace of God;
Rich and poor, the fools and wise,
    Wanting light to find the road
Leading to the heavenly life,
Wander'd lost in care and strife.

But the glory of the Lord
    Hath arisen on us to-day,
We have seen the light outpour'd
    That must surely drive away
All things that to night belong,
All the sad earth's woe and wrong.

Thy arising, Lord, shall fill
    All my thoughts n sorrow's hour;
Thy arising, Lord, shall still
    All my dread of Death's dark power:
Through my smiles and through my tears
Still Thy light, O Lord, appears.

Let me, Lord, in peace depart
    From this evil world to Thee;
Where Thyself sole Brightness art,
    Thou hast kept a place for me:
In the shining city there
Crowns of light Thy saints shall wear.

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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