Christmas In Ritual & Tradition - online book

The Observance Of Christmas In Various Lands And Ages.

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THE CHRISTIAN FEAST
Konig der Ehrcn, aus Liebe geworden zum Kinde,
Dem ich auch wieder mein Herz in der Liebe verbinde ;
Du sollst es sein,
Den ich erwahle allein,
Ewig entsag' ich der Siinde.
Treuer Immanuel, werd' auch in mir neu geboren ; Komm doch, mein Heiland, und lass mich nicht langer ver-loren ;
Wohne in mir,
Mach mich ganz eines mit dir,
Den du zum Leben crkoren." * 3s
The note of personal religion, as distinguished from theo­logical doctrine, is stronger in German Christmas poetry than in that of any other nation—the birth of Christ in the individual soul, not merely the redemption of man in general, is a central idea.
We come back at last to England. The great carol period is, as has already been said, the fifteenth, and the first half of the sixteenth, century ; after the Reformation the English domestic Christmas largely loses its religious colouring, and the best carols of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries are songs of
* " Triumph, ye heavens ! rejoice ye with high adoration ! Sing to the Lord, to the Saviour, in glad exultation !
Angels, give ear !
God unto man hath drawn near,
Bringing to lost ones salvation.                                              .                               ,
King of the Glory ! what grace in Thy humiliation ! Thou wert a child ! who of old wert the Lord of creation.
Thee will I own,
Thee would I follow, alone,
Heir of Thy wondrous salvation.
Faithful Immanuel ! let me Thy glories be telling,
Come, O my Saviour, be born, in mine inmost heart dwelling,
In me abide.
Make me with Thee unified,
Where the life-fountain is welling." s6
76
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