Thursday, December 31, 2009

On the 7nd Day of Christmas: The New Year Approaches

There are two options for celebrating today, one is for the coming New Year and the other is the Eve of the Circumcision and Name of Jesus.

Today we will focus on the New Year, and tomorrow the Circumcision and Name of Jesus.

As the new year approaches, the church gathers together, as the collect for the day says, commit to your mercies and forgiveness the year now ending
and commend to Your blessing and love the times yet to come.

One option might be to have Corporate Confession and Absolution at the beginning of the evening service.  It is also appropriate to receive the blessings of the Eucharist at this time as well.

New Year's Eve has themes that are similar to Advent and the close of the church year.  The Gospel lesson is from Luke 12:35-40 (ESV), where Jesus says,

"Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, 
and be like men who are waiting for their master
to come home from the wedding feast,
so that they may open the door to him at once
when he comes and knocks.
 Blessed are those servants
whom the master finds awake when he comes.
Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service
and have them recline at table,
and he will come and serve them.
If he comes in the second watch, or in the third,
and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!
 But know this, that if the master of the house had known
at what hour the thief was coming,
he would not have left his house to be broken into.
You also must be ready,
for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect."

Another tradition that looks back on the past and forward to the future is the singing of "O God, Our Help in Ages Past." This hymn is a paraphrase of Psalm 90, which happens to be the appointed Psalm for New Year's Eve.  Pardon the recording quality here, as All for Hymn makes room for Virgil Fox.

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Be Thou our guard while troubles last,
And our eternal home.

The tune was irresistable to JS Bach, although the text came after his death.  Here's the fugue from BWV 552 based on the tune St. Anne.  This is not Virgil Fox, but it is a live recording! The melody is most prevalent in the opening motif, followed by the pedal parts.

Under the shadow of Thy throne
Thy saints have dwelt secure;
Sufficient is Thine arm alone
And our defense is sure.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

On the 6th Day of Christmas: The Animals' Christmas, Part II

Jesus, our Brother, strong and good,
Was humbly born in a stable rude,
And the friendly beasts around Him stood,
Jesus, our Brother, strong and good.

“I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown,
“I carried His mother uphill and down,
I carried His mother to Bethlehem town;
I,” said the donkey, shaggy and brown.

“I,” said the cow, all white and red,
“I gave Him my manger for His bed,
I gave Him hay to pillow His head;
I,” said the cow, all white and red.

“I,” said the sheep with curly horn,
“I gave Him my wool for His blanket warm,
He wore my coat on Christmas morn;
I,” said the sheep with curly horn.

“I,” said the dove, from the rafters high,
“I cooed Him to sleep that He should not cry,
We cooed Him to sleep, my mate and I;
I,” said the dove, from the rafters high.

Thus all the beasts, by some good spell,
In the stable dark were glad to tell
Of the gifts they gave Emmanuel,
The gifts they gave Emmanuel.

On the 6th Day of Christmas: The Animals' Christmas, Part I

O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum,
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum,
jacentem in praesepio!
Beata Virgo, cujus viscera
meruerunt portare
Dominum Christum.

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Liturgical Variations: Understanding Liturgical Worship, Part II

Micah over at Variations on a Liturgical Theme has posted his latest installment of Understanding the Liturgical Worship Service.

Topics include
  • Prelude
  • Opening Hymn/Gathering Song
  • Invocation
Here is his introduction

This is a continuation of my series that tries to help explain the elements of the Divine Service. At the conclusion of explanations, I'll also discuss whether something is sacrificial (we serve God) or sacramental (God serves us), what Scripture inspired this element, any (contemporary) alternatives, and any hymns based on that element.

It's shaping up to be an excellent series, folks.  Among other things, Micah gives us the scriptural references regarding the various liturgical acts.

And speaking of opening hymns, here is a grand setting of  Hymn #1 from The Lutheran Hymnal, "Open Now Thy Gates of Beauty."  This gathering would not have used TLH, so the text may vary slightly.  They disabled the embed code, so you have to click over to hear it.

Not to be left out, though, here is an organ arrangement of the same tune.

On the 5th Day of Christmas: Lutheran High School Music Concert

Over at Composing My Thoughts, high school music teacher (and composer) Dale Witte posted the Christmas Concert from Winnebago Lutheran Academy in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

WLA is an Area Lutheran High School of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS).

A highlight for me was hearing the kids rock it out to Michael W. Smith's Lux Venit/Gloria.

If you have not heard some of Dale Witte's compositions, you will find some of them on this recording, including "This Little Light of Mine" and selections from his setting of the Office of Compline - Prayer at the Close of the Day.

Coming January 10 (the Baptism of our Lord), the honors choir from the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS) gives us "To Jordan's River Came the Lord."

Know of any other Lutheran high schools with postings of their choir on line, please drop a note in the comment section and it will be considered for a future post.

Monday, December 28, 2009

On the 4th Day of Christmas: The Holy Innocents

December 28 marks the commemoration of the Holy Innocents.  Who are the "Holy Innocents?"  These are the children who were killed by Herod after the visit of the Magi.

Curiously enough, the church celebrates the Magi on January 6, so it would seem our celebration of the Holy Innocents is a bit early. 

The Holy Innocents, like the Feast of Stephen, falls on the day the saint(s) or martyr(s) entered into eternal glory.  Church tradition holds that the date of the slaughter of the Innocents is December 28.

The Feast of Epiphany was placed into the church calendar to help us celebrate the life of Christ during the church year, so it comes at the end of the 12 Days of Christmas.

An excellent carol that celebrates the Holy Innocents is the Coventry Carol.

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.
Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do,
For to preserve this day
This poor Youngling for Whom we sing
By, by, lully, lullay?

Herod the king, in his raging,
Charged he hath this day
His men of might, in his own sight,
All young children to slay.

That woe is me, poor Child for Thee!
And ever morn and day
For Thy parting neither say nor sing,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Lully, lullay, Thou little tiny Child,
By, by, lully, lullay.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

On the 3rd Day of Christmas: More on John 3:16

In honor of the Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist, here is John 3:16 in as many languages as I could find on-line.

English (ESV)
For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him 
should not perish but have eternal life.

Chinese Union Version (Simplified)
「 神 爱 世 人 ,
甚 至 将 他 的 独 生 子 赐 给 他 们 ,
叫 一 切 信 他 的 ,
不 至 灭 亡 ,
反 得 永 生 。

Chinese Union Version (Traditional)
「 神 愛 世 人 ,
甚 至 將 他 的 獨 生 子 賜 給 他 們 ,
叫 一 切 信 他 的 ,
不 至 滅 亡 ,
反 得 永 生 。

Vietnamese (1934 Translation)
Vì Đức Chúa Trời yêu thương thế gian,
đến nỗi đã ban Con một của Ngài,
hầu cho hễ ai tin Con ấy không
bị hư mất mà được sự sống đời đời.

Kakaj Dios jwiˈl subˈlaj tijlokˈaj juntir cristian xtakch
Kakaj Jesús wich ulew ri xike jun chi Jcˈajol wiˈ.
Y juntir ri tijcubˈaˈ jchˈolak chirij taˈ tisaach jwichak,
tijtaˈtakaˈ jun tzilaj cˈaslemal riqˈui
Kakaj Dios lecj ri taˈ jqˈuisic.

Так бо Бог полюбив світ,
що дав Сина Свого Однородженого,
щоб кожен, хто вірує в Нього,
не згинув, але мав життя вічне.

Ito ay sapagkat sa ganitong paraan inibig
ng Diyos ang sanlibutan kaya ipinagkaloob
niya ang kaniyang bugtong na Anak
upang ang sinumang sumampalataya sa kaniya
ay hindi mapahamak kundi magkaroon
ng buhay na walang hanggan.

Kwa maana Mungu aliupenda
ulimwengu kiasi cha kumtoa Mwanae pekee,
ili kila mtu amwaminiye asipotee,
bali awe na uzima wa milele.

Swedish (1917)
Ty så älskade Gud världen,
att han utgav sin enfödde Son,
på det att var och en som tror
på honom skall icke förgås,
utan hava evigt liv.

Sepse Perëndia e deshi aq botën,
sa dha Birin e tij të vetëmlindurin,
që, kushdo që beson në të, të mos humbasë,
por të ketë jetë të përjetshme.

Lebo tak Boh miloval svet,
že dal svojho jediného Syna,
aby nik, kto v neho verí,
nezahynul, ale mal večný život.

Ибо так возлюбил Бог мир,
что отдал Сына Своего Единородного,
дабы всякий верующий в Него,
не погиб, но имел жизнь вечную.

Fiindcă atît de mult a iubit Dumnezeu lumea,
că a dat pe singurul Lui Fiu,
pentruca oricine crede în El,
să nu piară, ci să aibă viaţa vecinică.

Deus amou tanto o mundo
que deu o seu único Filho
para que todo aquele
que nele crê não se perca espiritualmente,
mas tenha a vida eterna.

Norwegian (1930)
For så har Gud elsket verden
at han gav sin Sønn,
den enbårne,
forat hver den som tror på ham,
ikke skal fortapes, men ha evig liv.

Want God heeft zoveel liefde voor de wereld,
dat Hij Zijn enige Zoon heeft gegeven;
zodat ieder die in Hem gelooft,
niet verloren gaat maar eeuwig leven heeft.

Náhuatl de Guerrero (spoken in Guerrero, Mexico)
Tej, Dios sanoyej oquintlajsojtlac
on tlalticpactlacamej hasta oquitemacac isenteConetzin
para nochi on aquin quineltocas xpolihuis,
yej quipias yencuic nemilistli para nochipa.

Plautdietsch (Mennonite Low German)
Dan Gott haft dise Welt so Leef jehaut,
daut hee sien eentsje Saen jeef,
daut aula, dee aun am jleewe,
nich feloare gone,
oba daut eewje Laewe habe.

Mam de Todos Santos Chuchumatán (Mayan Dialect)
Nimxsen oc cyakˈ cykil xjal te Dios
bix juˈ tzunj e tzaj tkˈoˈnxin jaj junx Tcwalxin cye xjal.
Juˈ tzunj, alcyej xjal ma tzˈocslan tiˈj Tcwalxin,
ckˈojeltzen tchunkˈlal te junx maj,
bix miˈn txiˈ tuj cyamecy te junx maj.

Central Mam (Mayan Dialect)
Quˈn nimxix tqˈaqˈbˈil tkˈuˈj Dios
kyiˈjxjal tzaluˈn twutz txˈotxˈ,
ma chin tzaj tchqˈoˈn,
a ayiˈn Tkˈwal junchˈin,
tuˈntzin kykyaqiljo a kchi nimil wiˈja nlay chi naj,
qalaˈ ktenbˈil kychwinqil te jun majx.

(Macedonia was one of the seven churches of John's Revelation)
Зашто Бог толку ги засака луѓето од овој свет,
што Го даде Својот Единороден Син,
за да не загине ниту еден што верува во Него,
туку да има вечен живот.

Maori (Polynesian - New Zeeland)
Koia ano te aroha o te Atua ki te ao,
homai ana e ia tana Tama kotahi,
kia kahore ai e ngaro te tangata e whakapono ana ki a ia,
engari kia whiwhi ai ki te ora tonu.

하나님이 세상을 이처럼
사랑하사 독생자를 주셨으니
이는 저를 믿는
자마다 멸망치
않고 영생을 얻게
하려 하심이니라 

Kekchi (more from the Mayans)
Li Dios cˈajoˈ nak quixraheb
li cuanqueb saˈ ruchichˈochˈ nak quixqˈue
li Ralal junaj chi ribil re nak chixjunileb
li ani teˈpa̱ba̱nk re incˈaˈ teˈsachk.
Ta̱cua̱nk ban xyuˈameb chi junelic.

Jacalteco (the Mayans have many dialects)
Wal xin, caw xahancano ay anma
ay yul sat yiban̈kˈinal tiˈ yu Comam Dios,
yuto yati Comam hunpilan Iscˈahol coxol,
yuxinto macn̈eticˈa chichahni yul yanma,
mach chicˈaytoj,
to caw chischah huneˈ iskˈinal mach istan̈bal.

Perché Dio ha tanto amato il mondo
da dare il suo unico Figlio,
affinché chiunque crede in lui non perisca,
ma abbia vita eterna.

Því svo elskaði Guð heiminn,
að hann gaf son sinn eingetinn,
til þess að hver sem á hann trúir glatist ekki,
heldur hafi eilíft líf.

 Magyar (Hungarian)
Mert úgy szerette Isten e világot,
hogy az õ egyszülött Fiát adta,
hogy valaki hiszen õ benne,
el ne vesszen, hanem örök élete legyen.

Bog je toliko volio svijet
da je dao svojega jedinorođenog Sina
da nijedan koji u njega vjeruje ne pogine,
nego da ima vječni život.

Hiligaynon (from the Philippines)
Kay ginahigugma gid sang Dios
ang kalibutan sa bagay nga ginhatag niya
ang iya bugtong nga Anak,
agod nga ang bisan sin-o nga magtuo
sa iya indi mawala kundi hatagan sing kabuhi
nga wala sing katapusan.

Koine Greek (1550)
ουτως γαρ ηγαπησεν ο θεος
τον κοσμον ωστε τον υιον αυτου
τον μονογενη εδωκεν ινα πας ο πιστευων εις
αυτον μη αποληται αλλ εχη ζωην αιωνιον

French (Louis II)
Car Dieu a tant aimé le monde
qu'il a donné son Fils unique,
afin que quiconque croit en lui ne périsse point,
mais qu'il ait la vie éternelle.

Spanish (Reina-Valera Antigua)
Porque de tal manera amó Dios al mundo,
que ha dado á su Hijo unigénito,
para que todo aquel que en él cree,
no se pierda, mas tenga vida eterna.

Luther's German Bible
Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt,
daß er seinen eingeborenen Sohn gab,
auf daß alle, die an ihn glauben,
nicht verloren werden,
sondern das ewige Leben haben.

Thi således elskede Gud Verden,
at han gav sin Søn den enbårne,
for at hver den, som tror på ham,
ikke skal fortabes, men have et evigt Liv.

Vždyť Bůh tak miloval svět,
že dal svého jediného Syna,
aby každý, kdo v něho uvěří,
unikl záhubě a získal věčný život.

Paske, Bondye sitèlman renmen lèzòm
li bay sèl Pitit li a pou yo.
Tout moun ki va mete konfyans yo
nan li p'ap pedi lavi yo.
Okontrè y'a gen lavi ki p'ap janm fini an.

Cakchiquel Occidental (Mayan)
Ri Dios can sibilaj yerajoˈ
ri winek ri yecˈo chuwech re ruwachˈulef,
y rumariˈ xutek cˈa pe ri Rucˈajol waweˈ chuwech re ruwachˈulef.
Riyaˈ xaxu (xaxe wi) cˈa jun Rucˈajol cˈo,
pero xutek pe riche (rixin) chi xabachique
cˈa winek ri xtiniman riche (rixin),
ma xtibe ta pa tijoj pokonal, xa can xticˈojeˈ
cˈa rucˈaslen riche (rixin) xtibe kˈij xtibe sek.

Chinanteco de  Comaltepec (Southern Mexico "Mist Forests)
’Jo̱ co̱ˈ eáamˊ ˈneáangˋ Fidiéeˇ jaléngˈˋ dseaˋ jmɨgüíˋ,
jo̱baˈ cacuǿøiñˋ i̱ Jó̱o̱rˊ camɨ́ɨngˈ˜
do e laco̱ˈ cajúngˉ dseaˋ
do cuaiñ˜ quiáˈˉ jaléngˈˋ dseaˋ jmɨgüíˋ;
jo̱ lajo̱baˈ jaléngˈˋ dseaˋ i̱ jángˈˋ yaang˜ fɨˊ jaguóˋ dseaˋ
do jaˋ quɨ́ˈˉ jmɨɨ˜ faˈ e niˈnáiñˋ quiáˈˉ Fidiéeˇ,
co̱ˈ cøømˋ nilɨseeiñˋ có̱o̱ˈ˜ dseaˋ do lata˜.

Bulgarian (1940)
Защото Бог толкова възлюби света,
че даде Своя Единороден Син,
за да не погине ни един,
който вярва в Него, но да има вечен живот:

Arabic (SVD)
لِكَيْ لاَ يَهْلِكَ كُلُّ مَنْ يُؤْمِنُ بِهِ بَلْ تَكُونُ لَهُ الْحَيَاةُ الأَبَدِيَّةُ.

Amuzgo de Guerrero (Mexico)
’Ncˈe Tyˈo̱o̱tsˈom tˈmaⁿ waa
na mˈaaⁿ na candyaˈ tsˈoom nnˈaⁿ tsjoomnancue,
joˈ chii Ja na ñennco̱ na cwiluiindyo̱ Jnaaⁿ tquiaaⁿ
na tuiindyo̱ cha ticwii cwii tsˈaⁿ
na nntseiyuˈ ñˈeⁿndyo̱ tixocatsuuñe.
Mˈaaⁿ na ticantycwii na wandoˈ. 


If you listen carefully, you'll find a little John 1
in the verses of this song about John 3:16.

Know of a translation of John 3:16 that is not listed? Drop it in the comment box along with the language it is in.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas: Feast of St. John, Apostle and Evangelist

It was St. John and Mary, Mother of our Lord, at the foot of the cross, to whom Jesus spoke, "Woman, behold your Son ...  Behold your Mother."

In his Gospel John refers to himself as the "beloved disciple" and never speaks of himself by name.

Where Luke's Christmas Story focuses on the virgin birth, John's Christmas Story digs into the Incarnation.  He summarizes the Incarnation in just one sentence:

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

I really like Egil Hovland's setting of this text.

Any mention of John should include the Gospel in a nutshell (John 3:16).

                   For God so loved the world
      that He gave his Only
              begotten Son that who so believeth in Him
            should not Perish
              but have Everlasting

Here it is, sung by and English choir.

Here is a different setting to the same text.

And here it is sung in Mandarin!

The text is set to few other Asian languages as well.
My ear tells me they are different languages.
I could be wrong, though.

And now for Cantonese.

Auf Deutsch von Heinrich Schütz

Folk music en Español

Parlez vous Francais? Oui! Oui!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

On the 2nd Day of Christmas: The Feast of Stephen

It seems odd that the commemoration of the first martyr falls the day after the birth of the Savior!

Dec. 25: The Savior Comes; Dec. 26: Stephen is martyred!

Lets take the easy road and talk about Stephen. Saints and martyrs are always commemorated on the day they leave this veil of tears and not on the day they enter it. So if Stephen was martyred on Dec. 26, we then commemorate him on that day.

Now, how did we get Christmas on Dec. 25? For that we turn to Dr. Gene Edward Veith's excerpt from Biblical Archaeology Review.

First, some mythbusting. Christians do NOT celebrate Christmas because they christianized a pagan festival.  They had no interest in pagan ritual and were quite content to not participate.

So, why Dec. 25?  The ancient tradition dated the crucifixion on March 25, which in turn, was used to commemorate the Feast of the Annunciation (when Gabriel told Mary she was with child).  Tack on 9 months to Jesus' conception and you get to celebrate His birth on Dec. 25.

Now for some trivia: What Christmas carol doesn't mention the birth of Christ but does mention the Feast of Stephen?

That's right, Good King Wenceslas!

For more about the 12 days of Christmas and the famous king of Bohemia, check out this post from Past Elder.

Christmas: Day 2: In the First Light

Where the Gospel reading for Christmas Eve is Luke 2, the Gospel reading for Christmas Eve is John 1.

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.

In Him was life,
and the life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness has not overcome it.

He was in the world,
and the world was made through Him,
yet the world did not know Him.
He came to his own,
and His own people did not receive him.

But to all who did receive him,
who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God,

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us,
and we have seen His glory,
glory as of the only Son from the Father,
full of grace and truth.

And from His fullness
we have all received grace upon grace.

For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

John 1, selected verses (ESV)

All for Hymn Celebrates the 12 Days of Christmas

The secular Christmas begins the day after Thanksgiving and runs through Dec. 25. The Western Church's Christmas begins at sundown on Dec. 24 and runs through sundown on Jan. 5, just before the Magi arrive for the Epiphany season.

All for Hymn will have new posts each morning at 8:00 am EST to celebrate each of the 12 Days of Christmas.

For now, everyone light some candles and dim the lights one last time!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Day: Gustav Holst

Christmas Day: An Excerpt from Augustine

This excerpt from a sermon by St. Augustine was read towards the end of our Christmas Eve service.

Awake, mankind!
For your sake God has become man.

Awake, you who sleep, rise up from the dead,
and Christ will enlighten you.

I tell you again: for your sake,
God became man.

You would have suffered eternal death,
had he not been born in time.

Never would you have been freed from sinful flesh,
had he not taken on himself the likeness of sinful flesh.

You would have suffered everlasting unhappiness,
had it not been for this mercy.

You would never have returned to life,
had he not shared your death.

You would have been lost
if he had not hastened to your aid.

You would have perished,
had he not come.

Let us then joyfully celebrate
the coming of our salvation and redemption.

Let us celebrate the festive day
on which he who is the great and eternal day
came from the great and endless day of eternity
into our own short day of time.

He has become our justice,
our sanctification,
our redemption,
so that,
as it is written:
Let him who glories glory in the Lord.

Truth, then, has arisen from the earth:
Christ who said, I am the Truth,
was born of the Virgin.

And justice looked down from heaven:
because believing in this new-born child,
man is justified not by himself but by God.

Truth has arisen from the earth:
because the Word was made flesh.
And justice looked down from heaven:
because every good gift
and every perfect gift is from above.

Truth has arisen from the earth:
flesh from Mary.
And justice looked down from heaven:
for man can receive nothing
unless it has been given him from heaven.

Justified by faith,
let us be at peace with God:
for justice and peace have embraced one another
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
for Truth has arisen from the earth.

Through Him we have access to that grace
in which we stand,
and our boast is in our hope of God’s glory.

He does not say: “of our glory,”
but of God’s glory:
for justice has not come out of us
but has looked down from heaven.

Therefore he who glories,
let him glory, not in himself,
but in the Lord.

For this reason,
when our Lord was born of the Virgin,
the message of the angelic voices was:
Glory to God in the highest,
and peace to men of good will.

For how could there be peace on earth
unless Truth has arisen from the earth,
that is, unless Christ were born of our flesh?

And he is our peace who made the two into one:
that we might be men of good will,
sweetly linked by the bond of unity.

Let us then rejoice in this grace,
so that our glorying may bear witness
to our good conscience by which we glory,
not in ourselves, but in the Lord.

That is why Scripture says:
He is my glory, the one who lifts up my head.
For what greater grace could God have made
to dawn on us
than to make his only Son become the son of man,
so that a son of man might
in his turn become son of God?

Ask if this were merited;
ask for its reason,
for its justification,
and see whether you will
find any other answer but sheer grace.

Christmas Day: Gelobet Seist Du Jesu Christ

Carl Schalk once said of this hymn, "Now THAT is a Christmas song!" You can follow along in Lutheran Service Book, Hymn 382.

Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ,
Daß du Mensch geboren bist
Von einer Jungfrau, das ist wahr;
Des freuet sich der Engel Schar.

Praised be you, Jesus Christ
that You have been born as a man
from a virgin - this is true -
at which the host of angels rejoices.
Lord, have mercy!

Des ew'gen Vaters einzig Kind
Jetzt man in der Krippen findt,
In unser armes Fleisch und Blut
Verkleidet sich das ewig Gut.

The only Child of the Eternal Father
is now found in the manger,
in our poor flesh and blood
eternal goodness has clothed itself.
Lord, have mercy!

Den aller Welt Kreis nie beschloß,
Der liegt in Marien Schoß;
Er ist ein Kindlein worden klein,
Der alle Ding' erhält allein.

He whom the whole globe of the earth could not enclose
now lies in Mary's bosom;
He has become a little baby
Who alone maintains everything.
Lord, have mercy!

Das ew'ge Licht geht da herein,
Gibt der Welt ein'n neuen Schein;
Es leucht't wohl mitten in der Nacht
Und uns des Lichtes Kinder macht.

The eternal Light enters here,
It gives the world a new splendour;
It shines in the midst of the night
and makes us children of the light.
Lord, have mercy!

Der Sohn des Vaters, Gott von Art,
Ein Gast in der Welt hier ward
Und führt uns aus dem Jammertal,
Er macht uns Erben in sein'm Saal.

The Father's Son, God by nature,
became a guest here in the world,
and leads us from the vale of sorrow
he makes us heirs in his hall.
Lord, have mercy!

Er ist auf Erden kommen arm,
Daß er unser sich erbarm',
Und in dem Himmel machet reich
Und seinen lieben Engeln gleich.

He has come on the earth in poverty
to have compassion on us,
and in heaven He makes us rich
and like his dear angels.
Lord, have mercy!

Das hat er alles uns getan,
Sein' groß' Lieb' zu zeigen an.
Des freu' sich alle Christenheit
Und dank' ihm des in Ewigkeit.

He has done all this for us
to show his great love,
at this all Christendom rejoices
and thanks Him for this in eternity.
Lord, have mercy!


Christmas Day: The Glory of the Father

The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
We beheld the glory of the Father,
We beheld the glory of the Father
Full of grace and truth.

In the beginning was the Word;
the Word was with God,
the Word was with God.
In Him was life,
and the life was Light of men.
He came to His own,
and His own,
and His own received Him not.

The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.
We beheld the glory of the Father,
we beheld the glory of the Father
full of grace and truth.

John 1, selected verses

Christmas Day: Mendelsohn: Psalm 98

Sing to the Lord a new song,
for He has done marvelous things;
His right hand and his holy arm
have worked salvation for Him.

The Lord has made His salvation known
and revealed his righteousness to the nations.

He has remembered his love
and His faithfulness
to the house of Israel;
all the ends of the earth
have seen the salvation of our God.

Shout for joy to the Lord,
all the earth,
burst into jubilant song with music;

make music to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and the sound of singing,

with trumpets
and the blast of the ram's horn
shout for joy before the Lord,
the King.

Let the sea resound,
and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it.

Let the rivers clap their hands,
let the mountains sing together for joy;

let them sing before the Lord,
for He comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples with equity.

Christmas Day: Psalm 98 (Dutch Paraphrase)

Hymn 792 in Lutheran Service Book

The English text is under copyright.

Christmas Dawn: He is Alpha and Omega


Christmas Dawn Surprise!
The tune comes in at about 45 minutes.

Christmas Dawn: Come, Your Hearts and Voices Raising

Lutheran Service Book, Hymn 374
The Lutheran Hymnal, Hymn 90

The first tune you hear is the correct tune, but the choir is singing
"He Whom Shepherds Once Were Raising."
The text in LSB and TLH is under copyright.

The faint sound of the boy sopranos in the distance is because each of the four boys is placed at the four corners of the sanctuary.   They each alternate a line from the song.  The choir comes in with the second tune.  Finally, the congregation joins in this refrain while the boys rotate to the next corner of the sanctuary:

God's own Son is born a child, is born a child,
God in sinners is reconciled, is reconciled.

Christmas Midnight: Hodie Christus Natus Est

Hodie Christus natus est;
Hodie salvator apparuit;
Hodie in terra canunt angeli,
laetantur archangeli;
Hodie exultant justi dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Today Christ is born;
Today the Savior has appeared;
Today Angels sing on earth,
and Archangels rejoice;
Today the just exult, saying:
Glory to God in the highest!

Christmas Midnight: From Heaven Above

From heaven above to earth I come
To bear good news to every home;
Glad tidings of great joy I bring
Whereof I now will say and sing.

To you this night is born a child
Of Mary, chosen Virgin mild;
This little child of holy birth
Shall be the joy of all the earth.

This is the Christ, our God Most High,
Who hears your sad and bitter cry;
He will Himself your Savior be
From all your sins to set you free.

Ah, dearest Jesus, holy Child,
Prepare a bed, soft, undefiled,
A quiet chamber set apart
For You to dwell within my heart.

Glory to God in highest heaven,
Who unto us His Son has given!
While angels sing with pious mirth
A glad new year to all the earth.

Christmas Midnight: That Fear and Death and Sorrow Cease

Before the Marvel of this Night

Christmas Eve and Christmas Midnight: Getting a Handel on Things

Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23


Isaiah 9:2


Isaiah 9:6




Luke 2:8-11, 13


Luke 2:14

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve: Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Part II

Christmas Eve: Vaughan Williams' Fantasia on Christmas Carols, Part I

Christmas Eve: Britten's Ceremony of Carols, Part II



Behold, a silly tender babe,
in freezing winter night,
In homely manger trembling lies.
Alas, a piteous sight!

The inns are full; no man will yield
This little pilgrim bed.
But forced he is with silly beasts
in crib to shroud his head.

This stable is a Prince's court,
this crib his chair of State;
The beasts are parcel of his pomp
the wooden dish his plate.

The persons in that poor attire
His royal liveries wear;
The Prince himself is come from heaven;
This pomp is prized there.

With joy approach, 0 Christian wight,
Do homage to thy King,
And highly praise his humble pomp,
wich he from Heaven doth bring.

Pleasure it is
to hear iwis,
the Birdes sing,
The deer in the dale,
the sheep in the vale,
the corn springing.
God's purveyance
for sustenance,
It is for man,
it is for man.
Then we always
to give him praise,
And thank him than.


Deo gracias! Deo gracias!
Adam lay ibounden, bounden in a bond;
Four thousand winter thought he not to long.
Deo gracias! Deo gracias!
And all was for an appil, an appil that he tok,
As clerkes finden written in their book.
Deo gracias! Deo gracias!
Ne had the appil take ben, the appil take ben,
Ne hadde never our lady a ben hevene quene.
Blessed be the time that appil take was.
Therefore we moun singen.
Deo gracias! Deo gracias! Deo gracias! Deo gracias!

Hodie Christus natus est;
Hodie salvator apparuit;
Hodie in terra canunt angeli, laetantur archangeli;
Hodie exultant justi dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Today Christ is born;
Today the Savior has appeared;
Today Angels sing on earth, and Archangels rejoice;
Today the just exult, saying:
Glory to God in the highest!

Christmas Eve: Britten's Ceremony of Carols, Part I

Hodie Christus natus est;
Hodie salvator apparuit;
Hodie in terra canunt angeli, laetantur archangeli;
Hodie exultant justi dicentes:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Today Christ is born;
Today the Savior has appeared;
Today Angels sing on earth, and Archangels rejoice;
Today the just exult, saying:
Glory to God in the highest!

Wolcum, Wolcum, Wolcum be thou hevenè king,
Wolcum Yole! Wolcum, born in one morning,
Wolcum for whom we sall sing!
Wolcum be ye, Stevene and Jon,
Wolcum, Innocentes every one,
Wolcum, Thomas marter one,
Wolcum be ye, good Newe Yere,
Wolcum, Twelfthe Day both in fere,
Wolcum, seintes lefe and dere,
Wolcum Yole, Wolcum Yole, Wolcum!
Candelmesse, Quene of bliss,
Wolcum bothe to more and lesse.
Wolcum, Wolcum, Wolcum be ye that are here,
Wolcum Yole, Wolcum alle and make good cheer,
Wolcum alle another yere, Wolcum Yole, Wolcum!


There is no rose of such vertu
as is the rose that bare Jesu.
Alleluia, alleluia.

For in this rose conteinèd was
heaven and earth in litel space,
Res miranda, res miranda.

By that rose we may well see
there be one God in persons three,
Pares forma, pares forma.

The aungels sungen the shepherds to:
Gloria in excelsis,
Gloria in excelsis Deo.
Gaudeamus, gaudeamus.

Leave we all this werldly mirth,
and follow we this joyful birth.
Transeamus, transeamus, transeamus.

res miranda
pares forma

That yongë Child when it gan weep
with song she lulled Him asleep:
That was so sweet a melody
it passèd alle minstrelsy.
The nightingalë sang also:
Her song is hoarse and nought thereto:
Whoso attendeth to her song
and leaveth the first
then doth he wrong.

O my deare hert, young Jesu sweit,
Prepare thy creddil in my spreit,
And I sall rock thee to my hert,
And never mair from thee depart.
But I sall praise thee evermoir
With sanges sweit unto thy gloir;
The knees of my hert sall I bow,
And sing that richt Balulalow.


I sing of a maiden that is makèles:
King of all kings to her son she ches
He came also stille there his moder was,
As dew in Aprille that falleth on the grass.
He came also stille to his moder's bour,
As dew in Aprille that falleth on the flour.
He came also stille there his moder lay,
As dew in Aprille that falleth on the spray.
Moder and mayden was never none but she:
Well may such a lady Goddes moder be.

This little Babe so few days old,
is come to rifle Satan's fold;
All hell doth at His presence quake,
though He himself for cold do shake;
For in this weak unarmed wise
the gates of hell He will surprise.

With tears He fights and wins the field,
His naked breast stands for a shield;
His battering shot are babish cries,
His arrows looks of weeping eyes,
His martial ensigns Cold and Need,
and feeble Flesh His warrior's steed.

His camp is pitched in a stall,
His bulwark but a broken wall;
The crib His trench, haystalks His stakes;
of shepherds He His muster makes;
And thus, as sure His foe to wound,
the angels' trumps alarum sound.

My soul, with Christ join thou in fight;
stick to the tents that He hath pight.
Within His crib is surest ward;
this little Babe will be thy guard.
If thou wilt foil thy foes with joy,
then flit not from this heavenly Boy.