Category Archives: Hymns

When Christ’s appearing was made known

When Christ’s appearing was made known,
King Herod trembled for his throne;
but he who offers heavenly birth
sought not the kingdoms of this earth.

The eastern sages saw from far
and followed on his guiding star;
by light their way to Light they trod,
and by their gifts confessed their God.

Within the Jordan’s sacred flood
the heavenly Lamb in meekness stood,
that he, to whom no sin was known,
might cleanse his people from their own.

Oh, what a miracle divine,
when water reddened into wine!
He spoke the word, and forth it flowed
in streams that nature ne’er bestowed.

All glory, Jesus, be to thee
for this thy glad epiphany:
whom with the Father we adore
and Holy Ghost for evermore.

Words: Caelius Sedulius (5th century)

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What star is this with beams so bright?

What star is this, with beams so bright,
more beauteous than the noonday light?
It shines to herald forth the King,
and Gentiles to his crib to bring.

True spake the prophet from afar
who told the rise of Jacob’s star;
and eastern sages with amaze
upon the wondrous token gaze.

The guiding star above is bright;
within them shines a clearer light,
and leads them on with power benign
to seek the Giver of the sign.

To God the Father, heavenly Light,
to Christ, revealed in earthly night,
to God the Holy Ghost we raise
our equal and unceasing praise.

–Words: Charles Coffin, 1736; trans. John Chandler, 1837, alt.
–Tune: PUER NOBIS (15th century)

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Go tell it on the mountain

Refrain
Go, tell it on the mountain,
over the hills and everywhere;
go, tell it on the mountain,
that Jesus Christ is born.

While shepherds kept their watching
over silent flocks by night
behold throughout the heavens
there shone a holy light. Refrain

The shepherds feared and trembled,
when lo! above the earth,
rang out the angels chorus
that hailed the Savior’s birth. Refrain

[Down in a lowly manger
the humble Christ was born
and God sent us salvation
that blessèd Christmas morn. Refrain]

–Words: African-American spiritual, nineteenth century
–Tune: GO TELL IT (19th century African-American spiritual)

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Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child

Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
bye, bye, lully lullay.
Lully, lullay, thou little tiny child,
bye, bye, lully lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
for to preserve this day,
this poor youngling for whom we sing,
bye, bye lully lullay.

Herod the king in his raging,
charged he hath this day,
his men of night, in his own sight,
all young children to slay.

Then woe is me, poor child, for thee!
And every morn and day,
for thy parting neither say nor sing
bye, bye, lully lullay.

–Traditional 16th century carol

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The angel Gabriel

The angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
“All hail,” said he, “thou lowly maiden, Mary,
most highly favoured lady,”
Gloria!

“For know a blessed Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honor thee,
thy Son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold,
most highly favoured lady,”
Gloria!

Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” she said,
“my soul shall laud and magnify His holy Name.”
Most highly favoured lady,
Gloria!

Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas morn,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say
“Most highly favoured lady,”
Gloria!

–Words: Basque carol; para. Sabine Baring-Gould (19th century)
–Music: GABRIEL’S MESSAGE – Basque carol; harm. Edgar Pettman (20th century)

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Sing of Mary, pure and lowly

Sing of Mary, pure and lowly,
virgin mother undefiled;
sing of God’s own Son most holy,
who became her little child.
Fairest child of fairest mother,
God the Lord who came to earth,
Word made flesh, our very brother,
takes our nature by his birth.

Sing of Jesus, son of Mary,
in the home at Nazareth,
toil and labor cannot weary
love enduring until death.
Constant was the love he gave her,
though he went forth from her side,
forth to preach, and heal, and suffer,
till on Calvary he died.

Glory be to God the Father;
glory be to God the Son;
glory be to God the Spirit;
glory to the Three in One.
From the heart of blessed Mary,
from all saints the song ascends,
and the Church the strain re-echoes
unto earth’s remotest ends.

Madonna and Child by Jason Jenicke

Madonna and Child by Jason Jenicke

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Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding

Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding.
“Christ is nigh,” it seems to say;
“Cast away the works of darkness,
O ye children of the day.”

Wakened by the solemn warning,
let the earth-bound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
shines upon the morning skies.

Lo! the Lamb, so long expected,
comes with pardon down from heaven;
let us all, with tears of sorrow,
pray that we may be forgiven;

that when next he comes with glory,
and the world is wrapped in fear,
with his mercy he may shield us,
and with words of love draw near.

Honor, glory, might, and blessing
to the Father and the Son,
with the everlasting Spirit,
while eternal ages run.

–Words: Latin, sixth century; trans. Edward Caswall (1814-1878) as “Hark, an awful voice is sounding”. Murray’s Hymnal of 1852 changed the first line to “a thrilling voice” and Hymns Ancient & Modern of 1861 altered the text further into its present form.
–Tune: MERTON, William Henry Monk (1823-1889); descant Alan Gray, 20th century

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