Category Archives: christmas

Christmas Carols in Prose #5: Once in Royal David’s City

Nativity by Sandro Botticelli

Nativity by Sandro Botticelli

In the royal city of David there once stood a lowly cattle shed. There a mother laid her baby down using a manger as his bed. Mary was that mild mother. Jesus Christ was her little child.

He who’s God and Lord of all came from heaven down to earth. His shelter was a stable. His cradle was a stall. Our holy Savior lived on earth with the poor, the mean, and the lowly.

Through his own redeeming love our eyes will see him at last, because that child so dear and gentle is our Lord in heaven above. He leads his children on to the place where he went.

[Original Text: Cecil Frances Alexander]

Christmas Carols in Prose #4: Silent Night

Michael Sittow's version of Hugo van der Goes' original "Nativity at Night"

Sittow’s “Nativity at Night”

The night is silent. The night is holy. Everything is calm and bright around that virgin mother and her child. Sleep in heavenly peace, holy infant—so tender and mild.

The night is silent. The night is holy. Shepherds quake at the sight. Glories stream from far off in heaven. Heavenly hosts sing, “Hallelujah!” Christ, the Savior, is born!

The night is silent. The night is holy. Son of God, with redeeming grace’s dawn, the pure, radiant light of love beams from your holy face. At your birth, Lord Jesus!

[Original Text: Joseph Mohr, translated by John F. Young]

Christmas Carols in Prose #3: Angels We Have Heard on High

Angel of the Lord window attributed to the Quaker City Stained Glass Company of Philadelphia, PA 1912. St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Charleston, SC. Photo: Cadetgrey. CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Photo: Cadetgrey.

We’ve heard angels on high singing sweetly over the plains, and we’ve heard the mountains echoing their joyous strains in reply: “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”

Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why do you prolong your joyous strains? What are the glad tidings that inspire your heavenly song? “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”

Come to Bethlehem and see him whose birth the angels sing about. Come adore Christ the Lord on your knees. He is the newborn king. “Gloria in excelsis Deo.”

[Original Text: translated by James Chadwick from a French carol]