The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

We Love Him for He First Loved Us


Words: Tersteegen, 1731.
Trans. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)

See: Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth

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

Thou fairest Child Divine,
    In yonder manger laid,
In whom is God Himself well pleased,
    by whom were all things made,
On me art Thou bestow'd;
    How can such wonders be!
The dearest that the Father hath
    He gives me here in Thee!

I was a foe to God,
    I fought in Satan's host,
I trifled all His grace away,
    Alas! my soul was lost.
Yet God forgets my sin,
    His heart, with pity moved,
He gives me, Heavenly Child, in Thee;
    Lo! thus our God hath loved!

Once blind with sin and self,
    Along the treacherous way,
That ends in ruin at the last,
    I hasten'd far astray;
Then God sent down His Son;
    For with a love most deep,
Most undeserved, His heart still yearn'd
    O'er me, poor wandering sheep!

God with His life of love
    To me was far and strange,
My heart clung only to the world
    Of fight and sense and change;
In Thee, Immanuel,
    Are God and man made one;
In Thee my heart hath peace with God,
    And union in the Son.

Oh ponder this, my soul,
    Our God hath loved us thus,
That even His only dearest Son
    He freely giveth us.
Thou precious gift of God,
    The pledge and bond of love,
With thankful heart I kneel to take
    This treasure from above.

I kneel beside Thy couch,
    I press Thee to my heart,
For Thee I gladly all forsake
    And from the creature part:
Thou priceless Pearl! lo, he
    By whom Thou'rt loved and known,
Will give himself and all he hath
    To win Thee for his own.

Oh come, Thou Blessed Child,
    Thou Saviour of my soul,
For ever bound to Thee, my name
    Among Thy host enrol.
O deign to take my heart,
    And let Thy heart be mine,
That all my love flow out to Thee,
    And lose itself in Thine.

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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