O hail this brightest day of days,
All good Christian people!
For Christ hath come upon our ways,
Ring it from the steeple!
Of maiden pure is He the Son;
For every shall thy praise be sung,
Christ's fair mother mary!
Ever was there news so great?
God's own Son from heaven's high state
is born the Son of Mary!
This day the wonderous Child is born,
Lent to earth from heaven.
He comes to cheer a world forlorn,
Its heavy sin to leaven.
So, sing ye all the glorious birth
Which doth redeem our fallen earth,
And works our salvation.
Laud to thee, Child Jesus Christ!
With mankind Thou'st kept the tryst
Thou star of every nation.
As from above the sun his rays
Poureth down upon us,
And with his glow renews our days,
Health and life doth give us;
E'en so the Christ Child was He sent
A maiden's Babe, for our content,
And for our sweet comfort,
In a manger was He laid,
Sinless, and yet undismayed,
To dwell on earth among us.
The shepherds in amaze dis stand,
As from heaven came streaming
Bright angels in a flaming band,
Christ the King's birth hymning.
O Christ the King of Kings where's He?
False Herod raging mightily.
Everywhere doth seek Him,
Whom His mother Jesus dight,
And doth slay, O wicked wight,
The children for to catch Him.
Lyrics: Dies est laetitae, In ortu regali, 15th century translation, published in Klug's Wittenberg Hymn-book, 1535
Der Tag, der ist so freudenreich
von eier Jungfrau ist gebor'n,
Maria du bist ausserkor'n,
dass du Mutter wärest.
Was geschah so wunderlich?
Gottes Sohn vom Himmelreich,
der ist Mensch geboren.
Translation by Charles Sanford Terry, Bach Chorals Part III, Cambridge 1921