A lesser known Christmas hymn, “Christians, Awake!” retells the Luke 2 story in a powerful and vivid way. Medical doctor John Byrom wrote this text in 1749 simply as a devotional poem. The tune, YORKSHIRE, by John Wainwright, perfectly captures the exuberance of the text and the subject matter.
Christians, awake! Salute the happy morn
whereon the Savior of the world was born;
rise to adore the mystery of love,
which hosts of angels chanted from above;
with them the joyful tidings first begun,
of God incarnate and the virgin’s Son.
Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
who heard th’angelic herald’s voice, “Behold,
I bring good tidings of a Savior’s birth
to you and all the nations of the earth;
this day hath God fulfilled His promised Word;
this day is born a Savior, Christ the Lord.”
This may we hope, th’angelic hosts among,
to sing, redeemed a glad triumphal song.
He that was born upon this joyful day
around us all His glory shall display.
Saved by His love, incessantly we sing
eternal praise to heav’n’s almighty King.