We sang “Die Hirten Auf Dem Felde” or “As Lately We Watched” in choir tonight. This is a traditional Austrian carol, and I didn’t find a good recording of it as a traditional carol, but I did find several nice videos of newer arrangements.

The song was new to me anyway. It’s very pretty and bouncy with a bit of a madrigal feel. It’s told from the point of view of the shepherds, rather than about the shepherds by observers, which makes it a bit unusual. At the end, the angels get in there and tell the shepherds what to do, but that’s okay. They were sore afraid, after all, and probably just standing around with their mouths open.

“As Lately We Watched”

As lately we watch’d o’er our fields thro’ the night,
A star there was seen of such glorious light.
All thro’ the night, angels did sing
Carols so sweet of the birth of a King.

A King of such beauty was ne’er before seen,
And Mary His mother so like a queen.
Blessed be the hour, welcome the morn,
For Christ our dear Saviour on earth now is born.

His throne is a manger, His court is a loft,
But troops of bright angels, in lays sweet and soft,
Him they proclaim, our Christ by name,
And earth, sky and air straight are filled with his fame.

Then shepherds, be joyful; salute your new King,
Let hills and vales ring to the song that ye sing.
Blessed be the hour, welcome the morn,
For Christ our dear Saviour on earth now is born

Tonight was also our church’s Christmas pageant. Both my daughter were Mary in their appropriate years, I think, but most of the children get parts by age. Two year olds are angels, three year olds are shepherds, and so forth up to the wise men, of which there are a bit of a crowd.

We have live animals now, which I think is new since my kids were small enough to participate, but very nice. Some of the sopranos were late to choir because of stopping to pet the sheep, which I certainly can understand.