“From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” was one of Martin Luther’s first hymns, penned in 1535 and translated into English by Catherine Winkworth in 1855. Luther modeled the first stanza after a well-known German folksong, and wrote the text originally for his family’s Christmas devotions. He originally used the folk tune with the text, but he later composed VOM HIMMEL HOCH in 1539. The hymn is in the voice of the angel who comes to deliver the good news of Christ’s birth.
From heav’n above to earth I come,
to bear good news to ev’ry home;
glad tidings of great joy I bring
whereof I now will say and sing:
To you, this night, is born a Child
of Mary, chosen mother mild;
this tender Child of lowly birth
shall be the joy of all the earth.
‘Tis Christ our God, who far on high
had heard your sad and bitter cry;
Himself will your Salvation be,
Himself from sin will make you free.
Now let us all, with gladsome cheer,
follow the shepherds, and draw near
to see this wondrous Gift of God,
who hath His own dear Son bestowed.
Glory to God in highest heav’n,
who unto us His Son has giv’n,
while angels sing, with pious mirth,
a glad New Year to all the earth.