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Tag Archives: Christmas carols

O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL (HYMN)

O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL (HYMN)

that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear:

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

2. O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave:

3. O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight:

4. O come, thou key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

5. O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes, on Sinai’s height
in ancient times, didst give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

– from the ‘Great O Antiphons’ (12th-13th century)

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FROM EAST TO WEST (5th CENTURY CHRISTMAS CAROL)

From east to west, from shore to shore,
Let every heart awake and sing
The holy Child whom Mary bore,
The Christ, the everlasting King.

Behold, the world’s Creator wears
The form and fashion of a slave;
Our very flesh our Maker shares,
His fallen creature, man, to save.

For this how wondrously he wrought!
A maiden, in her lowly place,
Became, in ways beyond all thought,
The chosen vessel of his grace.

She bowed her to the angel’s word
Declaring what the Father willed,
And suddenly the promised Lord
That pure and hallowed temple filled.

He shrank not from the oxen’s stall,
He lay within the manger bed,
And he whose bounty feedeth all
At Mary’s breast himself was fed.

And while the angels in the sky
Sang praise above the silent field,
To shepherds poor the Lord Most High,
The one great Shepherd, was revealed.

All glory for this blessed morn
To God the Father ever be;
All praise to thee, O virgin born,
All praise, O Holy Ghost, to thee.
– Cornelius Sedulius, 5th century;
tr. John Ellerton

 
 

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FROM HEAVEN ABOVE TO EARTH (CHRISTMAS CAROL)

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 mother mild;
This little Child, of lowly birth,
Shall be the joy of all the earth.

‘Tis Christ, our God, who far on high
Hath heard your sad and bitter cry;
Himself will your Salvation be,
Himself from sin will make you free.

He brings those blessings long ago
Prepared by God for all below;
Henceforth his kingdom open stands
To you, as to the angel bands.

These are the tokens ye shall mark,
The swaddling clothes and manger dark;
There shall ye find the young child laid,
By whom the heavens and earth were made.

Give heed, my heart, lift up thine eyes!
Who is it in yon manger lies?
Who is this child, so young and fair?
The blessed Christ-child lieth there.

“Glory to God in highest heaven
Who unto man his Son hath given,”
While angels sing with pious mirth
A glad new year to all the earth.
– Martin Luther, tr. Catherine Winkworth

 
 

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LO, HOW A ROSE E’ER BLOOMING (CHRISTMAS CAROL)

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
as men of old have sung.
It came, a flow’ret bright, amid the cold of winter,
When half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas fortold it, the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it, the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
she bore to them a Saviour,
When half spent was the night.
– German 15th century carol,
tr. Theodore Baker

 
 

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O HOLY NIGHT (CHRISTMAS CAROL)

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;
It is the night of the dear Saviour’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!

Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by his cradle we stand.
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,
Here came the wise men from Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger,
In all our trials born to be our friend!

Truly he taught us to love one another;
His law is love and his gospel is peace.
Chains shall he break for the slave is our brother
And in his Name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise his holy Name!
– Placide Clappeau,
tr. John Sullivan Dwight

 
 

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INTRIGUING: HERE IS THE ENGLISH CHRISTMAS CAROL THAT CONTAINS A SECRET CODE – AND THE KEY TO THE MESSAGE CONCEALED WITHIN IT

THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS

This carol or song dates back to the 16th century and its precise author is unknown. It was written in England during the period when Catholics were not allowed to practise their faith openly and it was intended as a catechism for young Catholics, to educate them in the doctrines of the faith and yet not to be obvious to those who persecuted Catholics. The purpose of the wording of the carol was to hide its true meaning from those who, at that time, persecuted the followers of Christ. The hidden meanings known only to Catholics at the time are as follows:

The ‘true love’ refers to Jesus Christ the Son of God; the ‘me’ to every baptised person. The partridge in the pear tree also represents Jesus because that bird is willing to sacrifice its life if necessary to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators. The meaning of the other symbols is as follows:

‘Two turtle doves’
– the Old and New Testaments

‘Three French hens’
– Faith, Hope and Charity

‘Four calling birds’
– the four Gospels

‘Five golden rings’
– the first five books of the Old Testament

‘Six geese’
– the six days of creation

‘Seven swans’
– the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost

‘Eight maids’
– the eight Beatitudes

‘Nine ladies’
– the nine choirs of angels

‘Ten Lords’
– the Ten Commandments

‘Eleven pipers’
– the eleven faithful Apostles

‘Twelve drummers’
– the twelve points of belief in the Apostles Creed.
(fr. St Martin Magazine, December 2012)

 

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AS WITH GLADNESS MEN OF OLD (CHRISTMAS CAROL)

1. As with gladness men of old
did the guiding star behold,
as with joy they hailed its light,
leading onward, beaming bright,
so, most gracious God, may we
evermore be led to thee.

2. As with joyful steps they sped,
to that lowly manger-bed,
there to bend the knee before
him whom heaven and earth adore,
so may we with willing feet
ever seek thy mercy-seat.

3. As they offered gifts most rare
at that manger rude and bare,
so may we with holy joy,
pure, and free from sin’s alloy,
all our costliest treasures bring,
Christ, to thee, our heavenly King.

4. Holy Jesus, every day
keep us in the narrow way;
and, when earthly things are past,
bring our ransomed souls at last
where they need no star to guide,
where no clouds thy glory hide.

5. In the heavenly country bright
need they no created light,
thou its Light, its Joy, its Crown,
thou its Sun which goes not down;
there for ever may we sing
alleluias to our King.

– William Chatterton Dix (1837-1898)

 
 

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