O Come All Ye Faithful  (Adeste Fideles) 

Written by John Francis Wade, 18th century

O Come All Ye Faithful

Joyful and triumphant,

O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.

Come and behold Him,

Born the King of Angels;

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.

 

O Sing, choirs of angels,

Sing in exultation,

Sing all that hear in heaven God's holy word.

Give to our Father glory in the Highest;

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.

 

All Hail! Lord, we greet Thee,

Born this happy morning,

O Jesus! for evermore be Thy name adored.

Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing;

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

O come, let us adore Him,

Christ the Lord.

For a long time, the authorship of Adeste Fideles was attributed to St. Bonaventura, a 13th century Italian scholar. However, shortly after WWII, Rev. Maurice Frost discovered Latin manuscripts of the carol by John Francis Wade. Wade fled England due to religious persecution during the eighteenth century. He made a living copying and selling manuscripts of church music, as well as teaching music.

Written by William Dix, 1865

What child is this, who, laid to rest

On Mary's lap, is sleeping?

Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,

While shepherds watch are keeping?


This, this is Christ the King, 
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing: 
Haste, haste to bring him laud, 
The Babe, the Son of Mary!


Why lies he in such mean estate

Where ox and ass are feeding?

Good Christian, fear for sinners here,

The silent Word is pleading.


This, this is Christ the King, 
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing: 
Haste, haste to bring him laud, 
The Babe, the Son of Mary!


So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,

Come peasant king to own Him,

The King of kings, salvation brings,

Let loving hearts enthrone Him.


Raise, raise the song on high,

The Virgin sings her lullaby:

Joy, joy, for Christ is born,

The Babe, the Son of Mary!

William Dix wrote this popular Christmas carol in 1865. Originally a poem entitled The Manger Throne. An unknown Englishman set the poem to the then very popular British tune Greensleeves, and the carol became immensely popular in both Britain and the US.

We Three Kings Of Orient Are

Words & Music: John Henry Hopkins, Jr. 1857

We three kings of Orient are

Bearing gifts, we traverse afar.

Field and fountain, moor and mountain,

Following yonder star.

 

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,

Star with Royal Beauty bright,

Westward leading, Still proceeding,

Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

 

Born a King on Bethlehem plain,

Gold I bring to crown Him again,

King forever, Ceasing never

Over us all to reign.

 

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,

Star with Royal Beauty bright,

Westward leading, Still proceeding,

Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

 

Frankincense to offer have I;

Incense owns a Deity nigh:

Prayer and praising

All men raising,

Worship Him God on high.

 

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,

Star with Royal Beauty bright,

Westward leading, Still proceeding,

Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

 

 Myrrh is mine; it’s bitter perfume;

Breathes a life of gathering gloom: —

Sorrowing, sighing,

Bleeding, dying,

Sealed in the stone-cold tomb. Chorus

 

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,

Star with Royal Beauty bright,

Westward leading, Still proceeding,

Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

 

Glorious now behold Him arise,

King and God and sacrifice;

Alleluia, Alleluia

Sounds through the earth and skies.

 

O Star of Wonder, Star of Night,

Star with Royal Beauty bright,

Westward leading, Still proceeding,

Guide us to Thy perfect Light.

We Three Kings of Orient Are was written by John Henry Hopkins Jr., an Episcopal pastor in 1857. It continues the unfounded legend that the Magi were kings, but it does capture the image of a trip across the desert and plains.

Music by William J. Kirkpatrick 1883

Words & Music: Author unknown

Modern arrangement: Cecil Sharp, 1911

The holly and the ivy,

When they are both full grown

Of all the trees that are in the wood

The holly bears the crown

 

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing of the choir

 

The holly bears a blossom

As white as lily flower

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

To be our sweet Saviour

 

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing of the choir

 

 

The holly bears a berry

As red as any blood

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

To do poor sinners good

 

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing of the choir

 

The holly bears a prickle

As sharp as any thorn;

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

On Christmas Day in the morn.

 

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing of the choir

 

The holly bears a bark

As bitter as any gall;

And Mary bore sweet Jesus Christ

For to redeem us all.

 

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing of the choir

 

The holly and the ivy

Now both are full well grown,

Of all the trees that are in the wood,

The holly bears the crown.

 

O the rising of the sun

And the running of the deer

The playing of the merry organ

Sweet singing of the choir

Away in a manger,

 No crib for His bed

 The little Lord Jesus

 Laid down His sweet head

 

The stars in the bright sky

 Looked down where He lay

 The little Lord Jesus

 Asleep on the hay

 

The cattle are lowing

 The poor Baby wakes

 But little Lord Jesus

 No crying He makes

 

I love Thee, Lord Jesus

 Look down from the sky

 And stay by my side,

 'Til morning is nigh.

 

Be near me, Lord Jesus,

 I ask Thee to stay

 Close by me forever

 And love me I pray

 

Bless all the dear children

 In Thy tender care

 And take us to heaven

 To live with Thee there

In Britain, Away in a Manger is one of the most popular Christmas carols of all time. Away in a Manger was first published in 1885, in a Lutheran Sunday school book. This led to the misconception that it was written by Martin Luther, but there is no evidence in any of his writings that it was. The music to Away in a Manger was composed by William J. Kirkpatrick in 1895.

In verse 2, the line "no crying he makes" is considered docetic heresy with the line's implication that, by not crying, Jesus could not have been fully human as is taught by orthodox Christian doctrine.

Waits (or Waites) were British town pipers. This merry band of musicians, which were part of many British towns and cities from medieval times until the 19th century, would visit from house to house singing and playing the newest carols of the day. The Holly and the Ivy would be a popular part of their repertoire. Ivy, holly and mistletoe were prominent green plants in the British woodlands during the winter, so they became a part of English Christmas tradition.

The First Noel

16th century traditional English Carol

The First Noel, the Angels did say

Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay

In fields where they lay keeping their sheep

On a cold winter's night that was so deep.

 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

 

 They looked up and saw a star

Shining in the East beyond them far

And to the earth it gave great light

And so it continued both day and night.

 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

 

And by the light of that same star

Three Wise men came from country far

To seek for a King was their intent

And to follow the star wherever it went.

 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

 

This star drew nigh to the northwest

O'er Bethlehem it took its rest

And there it did both Pause and stay

Right o'er the place where Jesus lay.

 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

 

Then entered in those Wise men three

Full reverently upon their knee

And offered there in His presence

Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

 

Then let us all with one accord

Sing praises to our heavenly Lord

That hath made Heaven and earth of nought

And with his blood mankind has bought.

 

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

Little Drummer Boy

Written by Katherine K. Davis, Henry Onorati and Harry Simeone

Come they told me,

pa rum pum pum pum
A new born King to see,

pa rum pum pum pum
Our finest gifts we bring,

pa rum pum pum pum
To lay before the King,

pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,

 rum pum pum pum, 

 

So to honor Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
When we come. 

 

Little Baby,

pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too,

pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring,

pa rum pum pum pum
That's fit to give the King,

pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, 

 

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum? 

 

Mary nodded,

pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time,

pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him,

pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him,

pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum,

rum pum pum pum, 

 

Then He smiled at me,

pa rum pum pum pum,

me and my drum.

The First Noel is a traditional classical English Christmas carol. The original version of The First Noel dates back to at least the 17th century. In 1823, William B. Sandys (1792-1874), and Davies Gilbert (1767-1839) edited and added lyrics to create the version we sing today. The origin of the current melody is uncertain. The English word Nowell is from the French word Noel, which means Christmas which is derived from the Latin word natalis which means birth.

One of the most popular Christmas songs of all time, the Little Drummer boy as originally titled  "Carol of the drums." 

Decades ago, so a claymation version of the "Little Drummer Boy" was produced by Rankin-Bass for television in 1968 with the voice of Eileen Evelyn with Greer Garson narrating.

There is some controversy over who wrote the song and who composed it. 

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