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