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How Great Our Joy

Full Text

1 While by the sheep we watched at night,
glad tidings brought an angel bright.

How great our joy!
Great our joy!
Joy, joy, joy!
Joy, joy, joy!
Praise we the Lord in heaven on high!
Praise we the Lord in heaven on high!

2 There shall be born, so he did say,
in Bethlehem a child today. [Refrain]

3 There shall the child lie in a stall,
this child who shall redeem us all. [Refrain]

4 This gift of God we'll cherish well,
that ever joy our hearts shall fill. [Refrain]

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

This song reflects the narrative of the shepherd’s response. See Luke 2:8-20.


How Great Our Joy

Introductory/Framing Text

We declare to you what was from the beginning,
what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes,
what we have looked at and touched with our hands,
concerning the word of life—
this life was revealed, and we have seen it and testify to it,
and declare to you the eternal life
that was with the Father and was revealed to us—
we declare to you what we have seen and heard
so that you also may have fellowship with us;
and truly our fellowship is with the Father
and with his Son Jesus Christ.
We are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.
—1 John 1:1-4, NRSV
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

Words of Praise

God of power and might,
in this bleak midwinter
we humbly offer our praise to you.
The coming of your Son
breaks our night
like the coming of the dawn.
This sun of righteousness
warms our faith
and stokes our hope
that one day your kingdom
will fully come in grace and truth. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.
People of God, through the coming of Jesus Christ,
whose birth we celebrate,
the Lord has comforted and redeemed us too!
In Christ we receive the salvation of our God.
Glory to God in the highest!
—based on Isaiah 52:9-10; Luke 2:14, NRSV
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two


God of all grace,
you who have sent your Son to be our Redeemer,
to give light in our darkness,
pardon for our sins,
and hope in our turmoil,
accept now our hearty thanks
for your Word (and for this sacrament).
We have met our Savior here;
we know your promises are true,
and our hearts have been nourished.
Send us forth to live obediently
until we gather here again in his name. Amen.
[The Worship Sourcebook]
— Worship Sourcebook Edition Two

How Great Our Joy

Tune Information

a minor
8.8 refrain



How Great Our Joy

Composer Information

Hugo Jüngst came from an affluent, middle class merchant family in Dresden, his father owning a factory and warehouse for French millstones. Hugo received his first piano lessons at age seven, and in 1871, he entered the Royal Conservatory of Music in Dresden for a six-year program of study, specializing in piano and composition. He studied with Julius Rietz, Emil Bahr, Armin Boehme, Paul Janssen, Gustav Merkel, and William Rischbieter. In 1876, he founded the Dresden Männergesangverein (Men’s Choir) which he headed until 1903. In 1891, he was appointed Königlichen Musikdirektor (royal music director), and in 1898, Königlichen Musikprofessor (royal professor of music). He received several awards in his lifetime, and performed internationally in Europe and America. 
— Hymntime (
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