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Five Overlooked Christmas Hymns

I know what you’re thinking. There are already too many favorite Christmas hymns and carols to try to fit into one Christmas Eve and one Christmas Day service. If we’re singing “Joy to the World,” “O Come, All Ye Faithful,” and “Silent Night,” where am I going to fit more? But consider the many other opportunities for using Christmas hymns beyond the service: at school, at home, at Sunday School, in the Christmas program, as part of your personal devotions, while caroling. Give these often-forgotten hymns that tell of Christ’s birth a second look.

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming

The hymn of the day for Christmas Eve, this scripturally rich hymn carries us from Isaiah’s prophecy to the manger and “to the endless day.”

Lo, how a rose e’er blooming
From tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming
As prophets long have sung,
It came, a flow’ret bright,
Amid the cold of winter,
When half-spent was the night. (LSB 359:1)

From Heaven Above to Earth I Come

Don’t pass this one by because of its length. How about making it part of a Christmas program that uses Luther hymns? The program might feature stanzas of this hymn along with “We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth” (LSB 382); “Savior of the Nations, Come” (LSB 332); “All Glory Be to God Alone” (LSB 948); and stanzas 1, 4­–6, and 10 of “Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice” (LSB 556).

Come here, my friends, lift up your eyes,
And see what in the manger lies.
Who is this child, so young and fair?
It is the Christ Child lying there. (LSB 358:7)

O Savior of Our Fallen Race

This ancient hymn with a new tune is perfect for Christmas. And don’t forget these other hymns from beyond the Christmas section that work well: “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” (LSB 621) and “O Jesus So Sweet, O Jesus So Mild” (LSB 546).

And we are jubilant today,
For You have washed our guilt away.
O hear the glad new song we sing
On this, the birthday of our King!
Alleluia! (LSB 403:6)

All My Heart Again Rejoices

Paul Gerhardt’s words personally remind us that the salvation Christ brings is for “one and all, great and small.”

Softly from His lowly manger
Jesus calls
One and all,
“You are safe from danger.
Children, from the sins that grieve you
You are freed;
All you need
I will surely give you.” (LSB 360:5)

Listen to the mp3: https://www.cph.org/multimedia/music/singles/full/983992.mp3

Of the Father’s Love Begotten

In this hymn, which has been sung for more than 1,600 Christmases, we sing of the Father’s timeless love.

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. (LSB 384:3)

Listen to the mp3: https://www.cph.org/multimedia/music/singles/full/976844.mp3

What are your favorite Christmas hymns? Share them in the comments!

 

Written by

Peter Reske

Peter C. Reske, senior editor of music/worship at Concordia Publishing House, holds degrees in English literature and historical musicology from Marquette University and The Pennsylvania State University. He was the editor of Lutheran Service Book and its attendant resources.

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