1 "From heaven high I come to you,
I bring you tidings good and new;
glad tidings of great joy I bring,
whereof I now will say and sing.
2 "To you this night is born a child
of Mary, chosen virgin mild;
this little child, of lowly birth,
shall be the joy of all the earth.
3 "This is the Christ, our God and Lord,
who in all need shall aid afford;
he will himself your Savior be
from all your sins to set you free.
4 "These are the tokens ye shall mark:
the swaddling clothes and manger dark;
there ye shall find the infant laid
by whom the heav'ns and earth were made."
5 Now let us all with gladsome cheer
go with the shepherds and draw near
to see the precious gift of God,
who hath his own dear Son bestowed.
6 Welcome to earth, thou noble guest,
through whom the sinful world is blest!
In my distress thou com'st to me;
what thanks shall I return to thee?
Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #304
|First Line:||From Heaven above to earth I come To bear good news to every home|
|Title:||From Heaven Above to Earth I Come|
|German Title:||Von Himmel hoch, da komm' ich her|
|Author:||Martin Luther (1535)|
all st. = Luke 2:10-14
Written by Martin Luther (PHH 336) for his family's Christmas Eve devotions, this text (originally "Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her") was first published in Joseph Klug's (PHH 126) Geistliche Lieder (1535) in fifteen stanzas. Luther intended that stanzas 1-7 be sung by a man dressed as an angel and stanzas 8-15 by children.
As the basis for his first stanza, Luther revised the old folk song "Aus Fremden Landenkomm ich hier." Also called a "garland" song, "Aus Fremden" was used traditionally as a chorus in a game of riddles that involved the taking of garlands if a riddle was not solved.
The English translation is primarily the work of Catherine Winkworth (PHH 194), from her Lyra Germanica (1855). However, numerous hymnal editors have revised her translation. From the original fifteen stanzas the Psalter Hymnal Revision Committee chose to include five-the familiar narrative stanzas based on Luke 2:10-14.
Stanzas 1-4 contain the angels' words to the shepherds. Stanza 5 is the angel chorus (Luke 2:14), which we all sing as we share in the shepherds' and angels' joy. (For a similar narrative Christmas hymn on the same biblical text, see 215.)
Christmas Day worship service; Christmas festival of lessons and carols, especially with the dramatic performance style Luther intended (suggested above); church school programs.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook