Joy To The World

by Isaac Watts (1674-1748), English Carol

Joy to the World! The Lord is Come.

Let earth receive her King.

Let every heart prepare Him room

and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven and nature sing,

and heaven and heaven and nature sing.

 

Joy to World! The Savior reigns.

Let men their songs employ.

While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains,

Repeat the sounding joy,

Repeat the sounding joy.

Repeat, Repeat, the sounding joy.

 

No more let sins and sorrows grow,

Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow

Far as the curse is found,

Far as the curse is found,

Far as, far as, the curse is found.

 

He rules the world with truth and grace.

And makes the nations prove.

The glories of His righteousness.

And wonders of His love,

And wonders of His love,

and wonders, wonders of His love.

 

 


O Tannenbaum

O Christmas Tree

Isaac Watts was a prolific hymn writer, credited with some 750 hymns; his works include: When I Survey the Wonderous Cross, This is the Day the Lord Has Made, Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed and O God,Our Help In Ages Past.

Joy to the World is one of the most-published Christmas carols in North America. Based on Psalm 98, it was written to celebrate Jesus' Second Coming at the end of the age, and thus not meant to be a Christmas song at all. Today we only sing the second half of the original hymn.

Words: August Zarnack, 1820; Ernst Anschütz, 1824
English Translation: Author unknown
Music: German folk tune 

German Version

1. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy leaves are green forever.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy beauty leaves thee never.
Thy leaves are green in summer’s prime,
Thy leaves are green at Christmas time.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
Thy leaves are green forever. 

3. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!
Each bough doth hold its tiny light,
That makes each toy to sparkle bright.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree,
Thy candles shine out brightly!

5. O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
Thou has a wondrous message:
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
Thou has a wondrous message:
Thou dost proclaim the Savior’s birth
Good will to men and peace on earth.
O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree!
Thou has a wondrous message.

1. O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!



2.O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit
ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

3. O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!
dein Kleid will mich was lehren:
die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
gibt Trost und Kraft zu aller Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum!
Dein Kleid will mich was lehren.

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There are many versions of this traditional German carol. This one has seven verses, though only three are listed here. The first verse is attributed to August Zarnack, the third to Ernst Anschhütz, while the rest are by authors unknown.

The ‘Tannenbaum’ came to be introduced to England by means of the marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert of Germany in 1840. Before that, it had been a central and eastern European tradition. It became so popular, that only five years later, it was a part of most English homes and even caught on in North America. It originates, of course, not with the Germans, but the Scandinavians. It was a part of their pre-Christian roots, but even in the dark ages Christians used decorated fir trees to represent the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in their pageant plays. 

Centuries later, in Germany, Martin Luther likened them to a representation of God’s love-- never changing. Just as the color of the evergreen never fades, so is God’s love for us.  The candles they placed on the trees represented the light and hope that the Messiah brought to the world with His birth, life and resurrection. Thus, this pagan symbol was re-appropriated to represent the One Who created it.

Iowa, Maryland and Michigan still use this popular melody to accompany their state song.

Go Tell It On the Mountain

Compiled by John Wesley Work Jr.

(1871-1925), African-American Spiritual

While shepherds kept their watching
o’er silent flocks by night,
Behold, throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light

 

Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

 

The shepherds feared and trembled,
When lo! above the earth,
Rang out the angels chorus
That hailed our Savior's birth.


Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn.

 

 Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

O Holy Night (Cantique de Noël)

Words by Placide Cappeau (1808-1877), French Carol

Music by Adolphe Adam, 1847

Translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight, 1855

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining;

It is the night of the dear Savior’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!


He knows our need—to our weakness is no stranger.
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King; before Him lowly bend!

Truly He taught us to love one another;
His law is love and His Gospel is peace.
Chains shall He br
eak 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!


Christ is the Lord! O praise His name forever!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow’r and glory evermore proclaim!

Go Tell It On the Mountain is considered a Christmas song because it celebrates the birth of Jesus. John Wesley Work Jr., was the first African-American collector of slave songs and spirituals. He attended Harvard as well as Fisk University, where he eventually became the choral director. He later served as president of Roger Williams University and established the music publishing company, Work Brothers and Hart.

O Holy Night has the distinction of being the first carol to be broadcast on radio. It was Christmas Eve 1906 when Reginald Fessenden, a Canadian inventor, played it on the violin, singing the last verse as he played. There is a popular, but unsubstantiated story that this carol was an important part of Christmas Eve 1870 during the Franco-Prussian War. It is said that one of the soldiers on the French side emerged from his trench and sang O Holy Night. This led to a German soldier leaving his trench to sing a traditional German carol: Luther’s Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her (the English translation is To Shepherds As They Watched By Night). A similar event occurred later during World War I and is well-documented in the book Silent Night: The Story of The World War I Christmas Truce by Stanley Weintraub.

In Dulci Jubilo 

(In Sweet Rejoicing)

by Heinrich Suso (1300-1366), German Carol;

translated by Robert Lucas Pearsall (1834)

Sung to the same tune as Good Christian Men Rejoice

In dulci jubilo*
Now sing with hearts aglow!
Our delight and pleasure lies
in praesepio;
Like sunshine is our treasure
matris in gremio;
Alpha es et O!
Alpha es et O!

 

O Jesu, parvule,
For thee I sing alway;
Comfort my heart’s blindness,
O puer optime,
with all thy loving kindness,
O princeps gloriae;
Trahe me post te!
Trahe me post te!

 

O Patris caritas!
O Nati lenitas!
Deeply were we stained
per nostra crimina;
But thou for us hast gained
Coelorum gaudia:
Oh, that we were there!
Oh, that we were there!

 

Ubi sunt gaudia
in any place but there?
There are angels singing
nova cantica
And there the bells are ringing
in Regis curia.
Oh, that we were there!
Oh, that we were there!

Translated into English by John Mason Neale (1818-1866)

Good Christian men rejoice
With heart and soul and voice!
Give ye heed to what we say
News! News!
Jesus Christ is born today!
Ox and ass before Him bow
And He is in the manger now
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!


Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye hear of endless bliss
Joy! Joy!
Jesus Christ was born for this
He hath ope'd the heav'nly door
And man is blessed evermore
Christ was born for this
Christ was born for this


Good Christian men, rejoice
With heart and soul and voice
Now ye need not fear the grave:
Peace! Peace!
Jesus Christ was born to save
Calls you one and calls you all
To gain His everlasting hall
Christ was born to save
Christ was born to save

 

 

 

proclaim!

*The Latin phrases are in italics. For the English meanings of the Latin, see here.

In Dulci Jubilo is one of the oldest and most famous ‘macaronic’ songs. Macaronic songs are those which mix Latin and another language—in this case German. In 1328, the German monk Heinrich Suso (Seuse) had a vision where he joined angels dancing as they sang this song to him. Five hundred years later, this carol was loosely translated into English by John Mason Neale as Good Christian Men Rejoice.

 

The English version above by Robert Lucas Pearsall (1834) follows the original Catholic German “macaronic” style of mixing Latin with the vernacular language, in this case English. Pearsall was an English composer living in Germany at the time. His arrangement of ‘In dulci jubilo’ (for eight solo and five chorus parts) is still performed frequently at Christmas. Pearsall spent the last years of his life in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen, where he died and is buried.

Here We Come A Wassailing 
(or Here We Come A-Caroling) 

Traditional English Carol (c. 1850)

Here we come a wassailing among the leaves so green,

Here we come a wand'ring so fair to be seen.

 

Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too,

And God bless you and send you a happy New Year,

And God send you a happy New Year.

 

We are not daily beggars that beg from door to door,

We are neighbors' children whom you have seen before.

 

Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too,

And God bless you and send you a happy New Year,

And God send you a happy New Year.

 

Good master and mistress as you sit by the fire,

Think of us poor children who wander in the mire.

 

Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too,

And God bless you and send you a happy New Year,

And God send you a happy New Year.

 

God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress too,

And all the little children that round the table go.

 

Love and joy come to you, and to you your wassail too,

And God bless you and send you a happy New Year,

And God send you a happy New Year.

Wassailing was when people would go caroling from door to door. Street urchins and other beggars would bring a cup, in hopes of being given warm wassail or to be invited in to stand by their warm hearth. Wassail was traditionally a hot mulled punch, consisting of ale, mead or mulled beer. Modern wassail typically begins with wine, fruit juice or apple cider.

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