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Fifth Hymn of Christmas: How Bright Appears the Morning Star

This entry is part 5 of 12 in the series

"12 Hymns of Christmas"

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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.

Download this hymn.

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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is Chair of the Worship Ministry Department at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in ministry, worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He is the author of Worship in Song: A Biblical Approach to Music and Worship, Sound Worship: A Guide to Making Musical Choices in a Noisy World, and By the Waters of Babylon: Worship in a Post-Christian Culture, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and four children. Views posted here are his own and not necessarily those of his employer.

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