This is another of those songs that has such a lovely tune that I can imagine people swooning at the gorgeous sound. It’s from the 17th century, when they knew how to write impressive tunes. There are other tunes, but I don’t know why anyone would want to sing another tune. However, I have sung this in a madrigal style with more complex harmonies, and that is very worthwhile.

Here are the words I know:

  1. All my heart this night rejoices,
    As I hear, far and near, sweetest angel voices;
    “Christ is born,” their choirs are singing,
    Till the air, everywhere, now with joy is ringing.
  2. Hark! a voice from yonder manger,
    Soft and sweet, doth entreat, “Flee from woe and danger;
    Brethren, come; from all that grieves you
    You are freed; all you need I will surely give you.”
  3. Come, then, let us hasten yonder;
    Here let all, great and small, kneel in awe and wonder,
    Love Him Who with love is yearning;
    Hail the star that from far bright with hope is burning.

We have been thinking about the harshness of the world, the hopelessness of so many lives, the sin and evil that keep so many enslaved to themselves and to one another. We’ve been waiting for Christ to appear and, like the people of Israel who waited on the Messiah, we have hoped against hope that he would fix things for us.

Instead, we end up with something very different: a baby, a tree with presents under it, a meal with our families, a star and lovely music. Nice, wonderful even, but not the end of suffering and injustice, woe and danger. Wars don’t end,pain and suffering is not magically suspended, things are not made right except in small ways.

This song, however, is about that moment, with angel choirs singing or the people we love gathered around us, when our souls are right even if the world is not. That is something.