The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

The Word Made Flesh

Christmas Day

Words: Laurenti, 1700.
Trans. Catherine Winkworth (1827-1878)

See: Christmas Poetry of Catherine Winkworth

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

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.

From the Gospel

    O Thou essential Word,
    Who from eternity
Didst dwell with God, for Thou wast God,
    Who art ordain'd to be
    The Saviour of our race;
    Welcome indeed Thou art,
Blessed Redeemer, Fount of Grace,
    To this my longing heart!

    Come, self-existent Word,
    And speak within my heart,
That from the soul where Thou art heard,
    Thy peace may ne'er depart.
    Thou Light that lightenest all,
    Abide through faith in me,
And let me never from Thee fall,
    And seek no guide but Thee.

    Why didst Thou leave Thy throne,
    O Jesus, what could bring
Thee to a world where e'en Thine own
    Knew not their rightful King?
    Thy love beyond all thought
    Stronger than Death of Hell,
And my deep woe, this wonder wrought,
    That Thou on earth dost dwell.

    Then help me, Lord, to give
    My whole heart unto Thee,
That all my life while here I live
    One song of praise may be.
    Yes, Jesus, form anew
    This stony heart of mine,
And let it e'en in death be true
    To Thee, for ever Thine.

    Let nought be left within
    But cometh of Thy hand;
Root quickly out the weeds of sin,
    My cunning foe withstand.
    From Thee comes nothing ill,
    'Tis he doth sow the tares;
Make plain my path before me still,
    And save me from his snares.

    Thou art the Life, O Lord!
    Sole Light of Life Thou art1
Let not Thy glorious rays be pour'd
    In vain on my dark heart.
    Star of the East, arise!
    Drive all my clouds away,
Guide me till earth's dim twilight dies
    Into the perfect 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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