Paul Gerhardt (1606-1676) is regarded by some as Germany’s greatest hymn writer. His near-absence from many modern hymnals surely stands as testimony to our chronological snobbery. Nevertheless, a mostly untouched (by modern hands, at least) treasure-trove of Gerhardt hymns still exists for the hungry seeker. “Immanuel, to Thee We Sing” is one of his Christmas hymns, along with the better-known “All My Heart This Night Rejoices”.
The hymn was translated by Ludolph Schlicht, and can be sung to the hymn tune “GERMANY”.
Immanuel, to Thee we sing,
Thou Prince of life, almighty King;
That Thou, expected ages past,
Didst come to visit us at last.
For Thee, since first the world was made,
Men’s hearts have waited, watched and prayed;
Prophets and patriarchs, year by year,
Have longed to see Thy light appear.
All glory, worship, thanks and praise,
That Thou art come in these our days!
Thou heavenly Guest, expected long,
We hail Thee with a joyful song.