st. 2 = Ps. 126:2-3
Originally a Russian folk carol ("Slava Bogu na nebye"), this text was published by Yakushkin in 1815; it exists with many variants in Russian music collections. The English version of the selected stanzas included in the Psalter Hymnal was taken from a translation by A. F. D. in the Oxford Book of Carols (1928). According to editors at Oxford University Press, A. F. D. stood for Percy Dearmer (b. Kilburn, Middlesex, England, 1867; d. London, England, 1936), one of three editors of that hymnbook. Bert Polman added the final "alleluias" to complete this setting for the Psalter Hymnal.
Though Nicholas Rimsky-Korsakov called this a Christmas hymn (note st. 4 with its reference to Luke 2: 14), the stanzas function as a general hymn of prayer suitable for all seasons of the year. Framed by a tone of praise to God and a recurring refrain, “Praise to you,” the stanzas petition God for the blessings of guidance (st. 1), truthfulness and daily food (st. 2), goodness and rejoicing (st. 3), and peace (st. 4).
Educated at Christ Church, Oxford, England, Dearmer was ordained in the Church of England in 1892. He served a number of churches and was a Red Cross chaplain in Serbia, where his first wife died. Dearmer also lectured in England and abroad (including the United States) and from 1919-1936 was professor of ecclesiastical art at King's College, London. Dearmer had many interests, and he published books on a wide ran of topics-church history, faith healing, fasting, and art. But he is especially noted for contribution to liturgy and church music. Along with others he edited The English Hymnal (1906), Songs of Praise (1925, enlarged 1931), and the Oxford Book of Carols (1928). He also wrote a hymnal handbook, Songs of Praise Discussed (1933), produced original hymns, and translated hymns from Latin and other languages into English.
Because of its similarities in theme to the Lord's Prayer, as part of the spoken and sung prayers in many worship services, including Christmas Day.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook