Monday, January 3, 2011

On the Tenth Day of Christmas: We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth

The Hymn of the Day for Christmas Day is LSB 382, "We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth." Not your typical Christmas carol, the text comes from Martin Luther and the tune from a publication in Erfurt in 1524.

Many carols come from the folk tradition. They often confuse the star with the shepherds or the angels with the wise men. They place the birth of Jesus in snow-covered Bethlehem. BTW, the 5-day forecast for Bethlehem shows highs in the mid 60's and lows in the mid 40's. It is possible for Bethlehem to get snow (rare-but possible) but Scripture does not tell us this.

Once in awhile, a carol comes along that is chock full of theology. Luther does not disappoint on this front! Below is the translation that is in public domain. Check out Lutheran Service Book #382 for an alternate translation.

The recordings that include the lyrics are in German. It should be noted that the final phrase in the German isn't "Hallelujah" but Kyrieleis. Short for the Greek phrase, Kyrie eleison, the meaning is "Lord, have mercy." This changes the tone of the hymn. The proper translation is placed in brackets after each verse.

Georg Böhm: Choral Partita, Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Simone Stella, organist


O Jesu Christ, all praise to Thee,
Who art pleased a Man to be;
The virgin’s womb Thou dost not scorn,
And angels shout to see Thee born.
[Lord, have mercy!]

Dietrich Buxtehude: BuxWV 188, Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Christoph Claus, organist


The eternal Father’s only Son
Takes a manger for His throne;
The everlasting fount of good,
Assumes our mortal flesh and blood.
[Lord, have mercy!]

Michael Praetorius: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Performers are not known


The first of all in earth or skies
Now in Mary’s bosom lies;
To be a little child He deigns,
Who all things by Himself sustains.
[Lord, have mercy!]

Various Composers: Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Giovanni Vianini, organist


The eternal Light to us descends,
And to earth its brightness lends;
Purely it shines upon our night,
To make us children of the light.
[Lord, have mercy!]

JS Bach: BWV 91, Nr. 6, Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Recital das Classes de Canto Coral 2009/II
do curso de Música da Universidade Federal de Santa Maria


The only Son, true God confessed,
Comes to His own world a guest;
And through this vale of tears our Guide,
Doth in His Heaven our home provide.
[Lord, have mercy!]

Melchior Schärer (circa 1600): Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Der Singkreis Zell am See
Rainer Straub conducting


In poorest guise to us He came,
Taking all our sin and shame,
That, as His heirs in Heaven above,
We may with angels share His love.
[Lord, have mercy!]

JS Bach: BWV 248(?) Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Der Bachchor Siegen mit Bachorchester Siegen
Ulrich Stötzel


His love to show, surpassing thought!
He this wondrous work hath wrought;
Then let us all unite to raise
Our song of glad unceasing praise.
[Lord, have mercy!]

JS Bach: BWV 604, Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ
Tien-Ming PAN, Organist