HYMN FOR ADVENT I O Bride of Christ, Rejoice/Gled deg, du Kristi brud
Danish: Fryd dig, du Kristi brud
Icelandic: Þú, brú∂ur Kristi kær
Norwegian: Gled deg, du Kristi brud
Swedish: Gläd dig, du Kristi brud
Text: Anonymous, Old Danish text late 1500s Tune: Jacob Regnart (1540-1599)
1 O bride of Christ, rejoice; Exultant raise thy voice To hail the day of glory Foretold in sacred story. Hosanna, praise and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee. 2 Let shouts of gladness rise Triumphant to the skies. Now comes the King most glorious To reign o’er all victorious. Hosanna, praise and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee. 3 He wears no kingly crown, Yet as a King is known; Tho' not arrayed in splendor, He still makes death surrender. Hosanna, praise and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee. 4 The weak and timid find How meek He is and kind; To them He gives a treasure Of bliss beyond all measure. Hosanna, praise and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee. 5 Thy heart now open wide, Bid Christ with thee abide. He graciously will hear thee And be forever near thee. Hosanna, praise and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee. 6 Then go thy Lord to meet; Strew palm-leaves at His feet; Thy garments spread before Him And honor and adore Him. Hosanna, praise and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee. 7 E’en babes with one accord With thee shall praise the Lord, And every Gentile nation Respond with exultation: Hosanna, praise and glory! Our King, we bow before Thee.
Tr. V. O. Peterson
The theme of the texts for Advent 1, in year A of the Revised Common Lectionary, is one of preparation. The texts are different from the old Lutheran lectionary which always featured the coming of our Lord Jesus into Jerusalem, the text for Palm Sunday as well. Luther’s thinking about Advent is somewhat different from the current emphasis of imploring Christ to come, as in "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." Rather, for Luther, Advent was a preparation for Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem, for his entry into our hearts, and for his coming again. His arrival was not in doubt, he was on his way. Thus, the hymns of Advent, particularly in the Lutheran north were about preparing with joy for the Lord’s coming.
This writer of this old text and well-loved hymn cannot really be found, although the scholars say it was mentioned as an old text even in the early 16th century. While the hymn was part of early Nordic American hymnody, it was dropped from the LBW and ELW hymnals. Regrettable! It still appears in Missouri and the ELS hymnals. It is still very popular in the Nordic countries. The tune, also very old, while somewhat melancholic, is filled with wonder.
This old hymn sets the right tone for Advent, I think. It asks us to rejoice at the coming of Christ and—"Thy heart now open wide,/Bid Christ with thee abide./He graciously will hear thee/And be forever near thee.” Advent should be filled with rejoicing at what we know happened at Bethlehem, in our own hearts, and joyfully looking up for Christ’s return. Hosanna, we sing, as did the Palm Sunday crowds welcoming Jesus to Jerusalem!
Advent in the northern Lutheran lands is joyful and filled with light. Maybe it is because the darkness is so present, and at the same time the little candle lights so powerful. When I was, briefly, living in Løgumkloster, Denmark, on my evening walks in November I would pass by typical Danish homes and see families gathered around their coffee tables alight with many candles and the families enjoying their time together. It represented to me the Danish word “hygge” which has become known worldwide.
N. F. S. Grundtvig, (1783-1872), the Danish hymn writer and great presence in Danish life and thought, stressed that the Holy Spirit was constantly present to us bringing joy and the love of Christ to all of life. While one could wonder how Christ centered these gatherings were in very secular Denmark today, I took it as a sign that the Spirit was somehow active in the lights glowing on their faces. Like those warm and inviting lights, the light of Christ invites us to share his glory. The congregation, the Bride of Christ, is called to rejoice in the coming of our Lord, even amid all the darkness and unrest around us. "Rejoice, O Bride of Christ."
HYMN INFO The tune by Regnart has been with the text for centuries. Regnart, a Dutch composer, singer and cantor, is thought to have been born in Flanders. He worked with the Emperor Maximillian II and Rudolf II in Prague. He composed many masses and motets. Johan Wallin, the Swedish hymn writer, wrote a version of the hymn which remains popular in Sweden.
LINKS Colorado Springs https://youtu.be/gphgKcf6Z1E
Congregation and organ singing hymn https://youtu.be/eiYxphp_kqI
(This can be found on the web, but it is difficult to link it. Beautiful, however)
Vossa Jazz Records/Norwegian https://youtu.be/HXRFa-GBHyY
Organ prelude by Buxtehude on tune. Asger Pedersen https://youtu.be/dh8JjQaO6gM
Folkjul/Wallin’s Swedish version https://youtu.be/ClNYKaeFcnc
Trio X/Swedish Jazz version https://youtu.be/uNeVgqvwV_w
For those thinking of Christmas gifts, you might consider the book Jesus the Harmony. It has a poem for every day of the year and Bible references for each poem that put Jesus in what has been called "the red thread of salvation." Many have been using it for daily devotions; others in group Bible studies.
Click here to check it out. https://www.amazon.com/Jesus-Harmony-Gospel-Sonnets-Days-ebook/dp/B08L9S4Z1T/ref=sr_1_3_nodl?dchild=1&keywords=Grindal&qid=16145