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.



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.





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

long ago.


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

Jesus Christ.


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,

Which adore.


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.





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;

very God,

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