BWV 91 Gelobet seist du, Jesu Christ

Christmas Day.

Poet unknown.

1. Martin Luther, verse 1 of the hymn, 1524 (Wackernagel, III, #9); 2. verse 2 of the hymn with interpolated recitative; 6. verse 7 of the hymn.

25 December 1724, Leipzig.

BG 22; NBA I/2.

1. Chorus [Verse 1] (S, A, T, B)

All glory to thee, Jesus Christ,
For thou man today wast born,
Born of a virgin, that is sure,
Thus joyful is the angel host.
Kyrie eleis!

2. Recit. and Chorale [Verse 2] (S)

The light of highest majesty,
The image of God's very being,
Hath, when the time was full,
Himself a dwelling found and chosen.

    Th'eternal Father's only child
Th'eternal light of light begotten,
    Who now in the crib is found.
Ye mortals, now behold
What here the power of love hath done!
    Within our wretched flesh and blood,
(And was this flesh then not accursed, condemned, and fallen?)
    Doth veil itself eternal good.
Yet is it, yea, for grace and blessing chosen.

3. Aria (T)

God, for whom earth's orb is too small,
Whom neither world nor heaven limits,
Would in the narrow crib now lie.

    Revealed to us this lasting light,
    Thus henceforth will us God not hate,
    For of this light we are the children.

4. Recit. (B)

O Christian world,
Now rise and get thyself prepared
To thee thy maker now to welcome.
The mighty Son of God
Comes as a guest to thee incarnet.
Ah, let thy heart by this his love be smitten;
He comes to thee, that he before his throne
Through this deep vale of tears be guiding.

5. Aria (S, A)

The weakness which God hath assumed
On us eternal health bestowed,
The richest store of heaven's treasures.

    His mortal nature maketh you
    The angels' glory now to share,
    You to the angels' choir appointeth.

6. Chorale [Verse 7] (S, A, T, B)

All this he hath for us achieved,
His great love to manifest;
Rejoice then all Christianity
And thank him for this evermore.
Kyrie eleis!

© Copyright Z. Philip Ambrose

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