Luther’s Christmas Hymns

by Rev. Jon D. Vieker

A number of Christmas hymns are associated with Martin Luther. Depending on how one counts these things, here are the most familiar.

His Hymns

    • “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” (LSB 358, featured here).
    • To Shepherds as They Watched by Night” (TLH 103, one of only two hymns preserved in Luther’s own handwriting).
    • “We Praise You, Jesus, at Your Birth” (LSB 382). Portions of this hymn appeared also in an earlier form (14th century), which Luther appears to have adapted.

His Translations

    • “Herod, Why Dreadest Thou a Foe,” found in an English translation in Luther’s Works (53:302ff). Not found in English in any current Lutheran hymnals. Some would consider it more Epiphany than Christmas.
    • “Now Praise We Christ, the Holy One” (TLH 104). An English translation of Luther’s German translation of Sedulius’ Latin. In LSB (385), the title is “From East to West,” and the text is John Ellerton’s English translation of Sedulius’ Latin.
    • “Savior of the Nations, Come” (LSB 332). LSB offers a composite English translation of Luther’s German translation of Ambrose’s Latin. Some consider it more Advent than Christmas.

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