No, it's not world peace and a smile on the face of every child. I could really care less about such nonsense. All I want for Christmas this year is to sing one little hymn, Of the Father's Love Begotten. My church is one of the churches that feels it would
be a good use of staff and volunteers to open on Christmas which happens to fall on a Sunday. (see The Purposeless Driven Chuch
post for an explanation of that snide comment) This means of course, on Christmas morning I will be singing. My absolute favorite Christmas hymn is Of the Father's Love Begotten. It beautifully restates the first chapter of the Gospel according to St. John. I just think that the hymns we sing should confess that which we believe. This one says it all
! It is the Gospel of our Lord put to music. I once attended a class taught by Kantor Richard Resch on hymnody in which he stated the hymns we sing in our worship should at least rise to the standard of the Psalms. I couldn't agree more.
Of the Father's love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,Of the things that are, that have been,And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!
At His Word the worlds were framed; He commanded; it was done:Heaven and earth and depths of ocean in their threefold order one;All that grows beneath the shining Of the moon and burning sun, evermore and evermore!
He is found in human fashion, death and sorrow here to know,That the race of Adam's children doomed by law to endless woe,May not henceforth die and perishIn the dreadful gulf below, evermore and evermore!
O that birth forever blessed, when the virgin, full of grace,By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;And the Babe, the world's Redeemer,First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!
This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;Now He shines, the long expected,Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!
O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!Let no tongue on earth be silent,Every voice in concert sing, evermore and evermore!
Righteous judge of souls departed, righteous King of them that live,On the Father's throne exalted none in might with Thee may strive;Who at last in vengeance comingSinners from Thy face shalt drive, evermore and evermore!
Thee let old men, thee let young men, thee let boys in chorus sing;Matrons, virgins, little maidens, with glad voices answering:Let their guileless songs re-echo,And the heart its music bring, evermore and evermore!
Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:Honor, glory, and dominion,And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!
And in Latin...
Corde natus ex parentis ante mundi exordiumA et O cognominatus, ipse fons et clausulaOmnium quae sunt, fuerunt, quaeque post futura sunt.
Ipse iussit et creata, dixit ipse et facta sunt,Terra, caelum, fossa ponti, trina rerum machina,Quaeque in his vigent sub alto solis et lunae globo.
Corporis formam caduci, membra morti obnoxiaInduit, ne gens periret primoplasti ex germine,Merserat quem lex profundo noxialis tartaro.
O beatus ortus ille, virgo cum puerperaEdidit nostram salutem, feta Sancto Spiritu,Et puer redemptor orbis os sacratum protulit.
Psallat altitudo caeli, psallite omnes angeli,Quidquid est virtutis usquam psallat in laudem Dei,Nulla linguarum silescat, vox et omnis consonet.
Ecce, quem vates vetustis concinebant saeculis,Quem prophetarum fideles paginae spoponderant,Emicat promissus olim; cuncta conlaudent eum.
Macte iudex mortuorum, macte rex viventium,Dexter in Parentis arce qui cluis virtutibus,Omnium venturus inde iustus ultor criminum.
Te senes et te iuventus, parvulorum te chorus,Turba matrum, virginumque, simplices puellulae,Voce concordes pudicis perstrepant concentibus.
Tibi, Christe, sit cum Patre hagioque PneumateHymnus, decus, laus perennis, gratiarum actio,Honor, virtus, victoria, regnum aeternaliter.