Hymns for 24th December 2021 – Christmas Eve Midnight Mass
70 It came upon the midnight clear
1. It came upon the midnight clear,
that glorious song of old,
from angels bending near the earth
to touch their harps of gold:
"Through all the earth, good will and peace,
from heaven's all-gracious King!"
The world in solemn stillness lay
to hear the angels sing.
2. With sorrow brought by sin and strife
the world has suffered long
and, since the angels sang, have passed
two thousand years of wrong:
the nations, still at war, hear not
the love song which they bring:
O hush the noise and cease the strife,
to hear the angels sing!
3. And those whose journey now is hard,
whose hope is burning low,
who tread the rocky path of life
with painful steps and slow:
O listen to the news of love
which makes the heavens ring!
O rest beside the weary road
and hear the angels sing!
4. And still the days are hastening on –
by prophets seen of old –
towards the fulness of the time
when comes the age foretold:
then earth and heaven renewed shall see
the prince of peace, their king;
and all the world repeat the song
which now the angels sing.
EDMUND HAMILTON SEARS (1810-1876)
adapted by Jubilate Hymns
79 O little town of Bethlehem
O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by:
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.
O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth,
and praises sing to God the King,
and Peace to men on earth.
For Christ is born of Mary;
and, gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given!
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming;
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us we pray;
cast out our sin, and enter in:
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell:
O come to us, abide with us
our Lord Emmanuel.
PHILLIPS BROOKS (1835-1893)
89 While shepherds watched
While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
all seated on the ground,
the angel of the Lord came down,
and glory shone around.
“Fear not”, said he, (for mighty dread
had seized their troubled mind);
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
to you and all mankind.
To you in David’s town this day
is born of David’s line
a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord;
and this shall be the sign:
The heavenly babe you there shall find
to human view displayed,
all meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
and in a manger laid.”
Thus spake the seraph; and forthwith
appeared a shining throng
of angels praising God,
who thus addressed their joyful song:
“All glory be to God on high,
and to the Earth be peace;
goodwill henceforth from heaven to men
begin and never cease!”
NAHAM TATE (1652-1715)
68 In the bleak mid-winter
In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone.
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Our God, heaven cannot hold Him,
Nor earth sustain.
Heav’n and earth shall flee away,
When he comes to reign
In the bleak mid-winter,
A stable-place sufficed,
The Lord God Almighty
Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day.
A breast full of milk,
And a manger full of hay.
Enough for Him, whom angels,
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel,
What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb.
If I were a wise man,
I would do my part.
Yet what I can, I give Him,
give my heart.
CHRISTINA ROSSETTI (1830-94)
78 (vv 1,2,6 & 7) O come all ye faithful
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!
God of God,
Light of Light,
lo! he abhors not the Virgin’s womb;
begotten, not created: Refrain
Sing, choirs of angels,
sing in exultation,
sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
glory to God
in the highest: Refrain
Yea, Lord, we greet thee,
born this happy morning,
Jesu, to thee be glory given;
Word of the Father,
now in flesh appearing: Refrain
ADESTE, FIDELES (Latin, 18th C.)
translated by FREDERICK OAKELEY (1802-1880) and others