st. 1 = Phil. 2:6-8
st. 2 = Luke 2:7
st. 3 = John 1:5, 14
Although many Christmas hymns are narratives of the Christmas story and theologically light, this translation of an old Dutch text is theologically profound. Because it makes excellent use of paradox, the text should be read before it is sung. Stanzas 1 and 2 are an amplification of Philippians 2:6-8; stanza 3 is a prayer.
The original Dutch text, "Komt, verwondert U hier, mensen," may have medieval roots. The text was first published in Blijden-wegh tot Bethlehem (Antwerp, 1645) in four stanzas. The original third stanza is omitted in the Psalter Hymnal.
The English translation, dating from the late 1960s, is mainly the work of Klaas Hart (b. Zedaandam, the Netherlands, 1906; d. Toronto, Canada, 1977). Hart began his ministry in 1935 by serving churches successively in Oostwold, Velp, and Utrecht, the Netherlands. He was actively involved in the resistance movement during World War 11 and his name was high on the "honor roll" of those wanted by the German police. In 1953 he immigrated to Canada and served Christian Reformed congregations in Wallaceburg, Petersborough, and Ingersoll, all in Ontario. His manuscript collection includes both original hymns and English translations of Dutch hymns.
Christmas season, either for congregational singing or as a choral anthem (worship leader could point out some paradoxes in the text).
Although the tune has Baroque characteristics of the early eighteenth century, KOMT, VERWONDERT could possibly be as old as the text. The tune was first published in 1856 in the Edmond de Coussemaker collection Chants Papulaires des Flamands de France. KOMT, VERWONDERT is a florid tune with a number…