Updated: Dec 20, 2020
Danish: Her kommer, Jesus, dine små
Norwegian: Her kommer dine arme små
Text: Hans Adolph Brorson (1694-1764) Tune: Johan Abraham Peter Schulz (1747-1800)
*1. Your little ones, dear Lord, are we And come your lowly bed to see; Enlighten ev'ry soul and mind That we the way to you may find.
*2. With songs we hasten you to greet And kiss the dust before your feet. Oh, blessed hour, oh, sweetest night That gave you birth, our souls' delight.
3.. Now welcome from your heav’nly home You to our vale of tears, have come; Flesh has no off’ring for you save The stable, manger, cross and grave.
4. The whole world bound by Satan’s might You’ve come to rescue us from night And free us with your nail scarred hands From all our enemy’s strong bands.
5. Jesus, alas! Why is it true So few bestow a thought on you, Or in the love, so wondrous, great, That brought you down to our estate? *6. Oh, draw us wholly to you, Lord, To us your constant grace accord; True faith and love to us impart That we may hold you in our hearts.
7. Keep us, howe’er the world may lure, In our baptismal covenant pure; That every yearning thought may be Directed toward your charity.
*8. Until at last we, too, proclaim, With all your saints, your glorious name; In paradise our songs renew And praise you as the angels do.
9. We gather round you, Jesus, dear, So happy in your presence here; Grant us, our Savior, every one, To stand in heav’n before your throne. Tr. Harriet Krauth Spaeth (starred stanzas what is in most hymnals today
He wanted this sung at his funeral. My great-grandfather Haakon Nicolai Tolvminius (1860-1944) died and was buried seventy-six years ago this month. The pastor writing his obituary praised his deep knowledge of Scripture and the blessing it was to discuss matters of faith with him. He had been raised in Gransherad, Norway, where his parents owned a hotel on the shores of Tinn Lake, made famous by the heavy water saga. His mother, Maren Dorothea, was a beloved midwife in the area and her ministry in the region was highly regarded, in fact, the cantor wrote a hymn for her on her death. Haakon learned much about the faith from his pious parents.
When he was a student at Hamar school, he had a spiritual awakening that never left him. After immigrating, he became a prosperous farmer in Minnesota, farming a section of land with three of his sons near Cyrus, Minnesota. All the while he supported the work of his congregation and the Lutheran Free Church—he was on the founding committee for Bethesda Homes in Willmar and gave generously to Augsburg and the Free Church. In his last letter to his pastor, Sverre Torgerson, who described his prayers as clear and forceful, he wrote of his sure and certain hope of going home to be with Jesus.
He wanted this song to be sung at his funeral because it was a favorite not just around Christmas. It told the whole story of salvation--from Eden to Revelation.
Brorson wrote it exactly for that purpose. He intended it to be sung at the children’s Christmas tree pageant so they would learn the whole story of salvation. It was written for the children of the little country congregation, Emmerske, outside of Tønder which he served. When you walk into it, you can see little children singing the hymn and acting out the story directed by the hymn text.
Brorson thought the Christmas story needed to include more than just the moment in the stable. You can read it in the nine stanzas here. Hymn book editors often have their own ideas--and sometimes take out the dark meat--the stable, manger, cross and grave. In addition, the editors missed one important word which I restored. They translated støv—dust—as ground. The dust hearkens back to God shaping Adam out of dust. Taking out the stanzas and such references makes the hymn sentimental. Something that is easy at Christmas.
My great-grandfather had a deepening sense he was sinner as he grew older, Torgerson wrote, making him all the more grateful for the undeserved grace of God given in Jesus. His assurance of salvation gave him a joyful heart and a keen sense of humor.
Brorson wrote the hymn to teach the faith to children like my great grandfather—to their eternal bliss. He knew he would one day be gathered around the Lord in heaven because of the crib in the stable. He had sung it so many times it had become his way home. So our family sings it every Christmas Eve to remember the testimony of our remarkable ancestor.
HYMN INFO This hymn appeared in 1732, the first collection of Christmas hymns by Brorson. It was titled “A little hymn for children.” The composer of the tune, Schulz, was well known in Denmark and Germany. His tunes for these two hymn texts—which are very similar--are remarkable in that they are still popular after several centuries.
Kammerkoret Nova https://youtu.be/sQydY4M1c8Y
Marit Larsen and Garness https://youtu.be/B-3Kb1VJxgg
Nidaros Guttekor with Arve Tellefsen https://youtu.be/wWrPkHwo7JA
O COME LITTLE CHILDREN Text: Christopher Schmit (1768-1854). Johan Abraham Peter Schulz (1747-1800)
German: Ihr Kinderlein, kommet
Like the hymn above this was intended to the children to sing as they acted out the Christmas story.
1. O come, little children, O come, one and all, O come to the manger in Bethlehem’s stall And see what the Father in heaven so true Has done to prepare a bright Christmas for you.
2. Behold, in the manger, that strange little bed, A Child, sweet and gentle, is resting His head, A Babe, clad in garments so pure and so white, And fairer by far than the angels of light.
3. On hay and on straw in the manger He lies; Both Mary and Joseph, with fond, loving eyes, Are gazing upon Him, and shepherds draw near, And jubilant angels from heaven appear.
4. O kneel with the shepherds in worshipful prayer And join the dear angels who also are there; Sing glory to God in the heavens above And thank Him for Jesus, the gift of His love.
5. O dearest, O sweetest, O wonderful Child, So pure and so holy, so good and so mild; For us poor and weak in the manger hast lain, For us like an innocent lamb Thou wast slain.
6. Receive then our hearts, which we offer to Thee, And keep them from sin and from wickedness free; O render them holy and blessed like Thine, Thou Son of the Highest, Thou Infant divine.
Sacred Heart Children’s Choir and Choristers Georgia https://youtu.be/XCw530jD0UE
Mainz girls choir
Boogie improvisation on the pipe organ/a hoot!