1 Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
and with fear and trembling stand;
set your minds on things eternal,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ our Lord to earth descended,
come our homage to command.
2 King of kings, yet born of Mary,
once upon the earth he stood;
Lord of lords we now perceive him
in the body and the blood.
He has given to all the faithful
his own self for heavenly food.
3 Rank on rank, the host of heaven
stream before him on the way,
as the Light of Light, descending
from the realms of endless day,
comes, the powers of hell to vanquish,
clears the gloom of hell away.
4 At his feet the six winged seraph,
cherubim with sleepless eye
veil their faces to his presence,
as with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Lord Most High!”
The text expresses awe at Christ's coming (st. 1) and the mystery of our perception of Christ in the body and blood (st. 2). With images from Isaiah 6 and Revelation 5, it portrays the glory of Christ (sung to by angels) and his victory over sin (st. 3-4). Although it has eucharistic emphasis, the text pictures the nativity of Christ in a majestic manner and in a much larger context than just his birth in Bethlehem. We are drawn into the awe and mystery with our own alleluias."
Bert Polman, Psalter Hymnal Handbook