Known as the “Queen of the Chorales,” this Lutheran hymn by Philpp Nicolai was written in 1599. Unusual for this time period, Nicolai also composed the tune, WIE SCHÖN LEUCHTET. As is often true of German chorales, “How Bright Appears the Morning Star” masterfully combined rich incarnation theology with devotional warmth, as the singer cries, “Jesus, Jesus, holy, holy, yet most lowly, come draw near us.”
How bright appears the Morning Star,
with mercy beaming from afar;
the host of heav’en rejoices.
O Righteous Branch, O Jesse’s Rod,
the Son of Man and Son of God,
we too will lift our voices:
Jesus, Jesus, holy, holy, yet most lowly,
come, draw near us;
great Emmanuel, come and hear us.
Though circled by the hosts on high,
He deigned to cast a pitying eye
upon His helpless creature.
The whole creation’s Head and Lord,
by highest seraphim adored,
assumed our very nature;
Jesus, grant us, through Your merit,
to inherit Your salvation.
Hear, O hear our supplication!
Rejoice, O heav’ns, and earth, reply;
with praise, O sinners, fill the sky
for this, His incarnation.
Incarnate God, put forth Your pow’r;
ride on, ride on, great Conqueror,
till all know Your salvation.
Amen, amen! Alleluia, alleluia!
Praise be given
evermore by earth and heaven.