The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The New Year


Words: A. H. Francke, 1691.
Trans. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)

See: Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth

Source: Lyra Germanica: Second Series, The Christian Life, 1858

Composed on his journey to Gotha after his unjust expulsion from Erfurt; as we are told in the oration delivered at his grave, "in the full experience of the unspeakable consolations of the Holy Spirit."

Thank God that towards eternity
    Another step is won!
Oh longing turns my heart to Thee
    As Time flows slowly on,
Thou Fountain whence my life is born,
Whence those rich streams of grace are drawn
    That through my being run!

I count the hours, the days, the years,
    That stretch in tedious line,
Until, O Life, that hour appears,
    When, at Thy touch divine,
Whate'er is mortal now in me
Shall be consumed for aye in Thee,
    And deathless life be mine.

So glows Thy love within this frame,
    That, touch'd with keenst fire,
My whole soul kindles in the flame
    Of one intense desire,
To be in Thee, and Thou in me,
And e'en while yet on earth to be
Still pressing closer, nigher!

Oh that I soon might Thee behold!
    I count the moments o'er;
Ah come, ere yet my heart grows cold
    And cannot call Thee more!
Come in Thy glory, for Thy bride
Hath girt her for the holy-tide,
And waiteth at the door.

And since Thy Spirit sheds abroad
    The oil of grace in me,
And Thou art inly near me, Lord,
    And I am lost in Thee,
So shines in me the Living Light,
And steadfast burns my lamp and bright,
    To greet Thee joyously.

Come! is the voice, then, of Thy Bride,
    She loudly prays Thee come!
With faithful heart she long hath cried,
    Come quickly, Jesus, come!
Come, O my Bridegroom, Lamb of God,
Thou knowest I am Thine, dear Lord;
    Come down and take me home.

Yet be the hour that none can tell
    Left wholly to Thy choice,
Although I know Thou lov'st it well,
    That I with heart and voice
Should bid Thee come, and from this day
Care but to meet Thee on Thy way,
    And at Thy sight rejoice!

I joy that from Thy love divine
    No power can part me now,
That I may dare to call Thee mine,
    My Friend, my Lord, avow,
That I, O prince of Life, shall be
Made wholly one in heaven with Thee;
    My portion, Lord, art Thou!

And therefore do my thanks o'erflow,
    That one more year is gone,
And of this Time, so poor, so slow,
    Another step is won;
And with a heart that may not wait
Toward yonder distant golden gate
    I journey gladly on.

And when the wearied hands grow weak,
    And wearied knees give way,
To sinking faith, oh quickly speak,
    And make Thine arm my stay;
That so my heart drink in new strength,
And I speed on, nor feel the length
    Nor steepness of the way.

Then on, my soul, with fearless faith,
    Let nought thy terror move;
Nor aught that earthly pleasure faith
    E'er tempt thy steps to rove;
If slow thy course seem o'er the waste,
Mount upwards with the eagles' haste,
    On wings of tireless love.

O Jesus, all my soul hath flown
    Already up to Thee,
For Thou, in whom is love alone,
    Hast wholly conquered'd me.
Farewell, ye phantoms, day and year,
Eternity is round me here,
    Since, Lord, I live in Thee.

Note: "The hymns in this series have been chosen from various sources, most of them being such as would be found in any standard collection. The greater number, however, are taken from [Christian Karl Josias] Bunsen's 'Versuch eines allgemeinen Gesang und Gebet buchs'  [1833]..."

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