‘TO you this night is born a Child,
   Of Mary, chosen virgin mild;
This little Child, of lowly birth,
Shall be the joy of all your earth.
2  ‘These are the tokens you shall mark:
The swaddling clothes and manger dark;
There you shall find the infant laid
By Whom the heavens and earth were made.
3  ‘Tis Christ our God, Who far on high
Has heard your sad and bitter cry;
He will your sure salvation be;
He from your sin will make you free.’
4  Welcome to earth, Thou noble guest,
Through Whom the sinful world is blest!
Here come to share my misery!
What thanks shall I return to Thee?
5  This happy heart for joy shall leap,
My lips no more will silence keep:
I too must raise with joyful tongue
That sweetest, ancient cradle song—
6  ‘Glory to God in highest Heaven,
Who unto man His Son has given!’
With all my heart I’ll join the throng
Of those who understand this song.
Martin Luther, 1483-1546,
tr Catherine Winkworth, 1827-78