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HYMN FOR CHRISTMAS Now found is the fairest of RosesDen yndigste Rose er funden

Danish: Den yndigste Rose er funden

Icelandic: Hin fegursta rósin er fundin

Norwegian: Den yndigste rose er funnet

Song of Solomon 2:1

Admiration of the Shepherds. Rembrandt

Text: Hans Adolph Brorson (1694-1764) Tune: Joseph Klug (1500-1552)


1. Now found is the fairest of roses

In briars and thorns, it reposes,

My Jesus, a branch newly showing,

A rose among sinners is growing.


2. Since first we were exiled from Eden,

And lost God’s own likeness by sinning,

The world has been suff’ring in terror,

And we have been wand’ring in error.


3. But God promised us a great favor,

And planted a Rose, Christ our Savior,

Who now blossoms forth in great wonder

Good news for those broken asunder.


4. With hymns and songs gladly now voicing,

The earth should break forth in rejoicing,

But many have not comprehended

The Rose to the world has descended.


5. O sinners, in brambles and briars,

Corrupted by your stubborn errors,

Why are you so proud in your spirit

And trust in your own feeble merit?


6. O come seek the places most lowly

And weep before Jesus the Holy,

Receive all the gifts that he offers,

This Rose planted here among briars.


7. My Jesus will always be for me,

This rose is my jewel and my glory,

Forever my keepsake and treasure,

It fills me with joy and with pleasure.


8. The world may take all my possessions,

Its thorns teach me terrible lessons,

My heart may be broken and tender,

This Rose I will never surrender!

Tr. Composite



Nativity in a flower. Jan Breughal

Eternity is perfect. The unimaginable story of Christmas is that God in his Son came down from there into our imperfect and sinful world to be born and live among us, in the muck of sin and terror. He did not come as a prince or governor. He was rather born to the meekest of women, Mary, into an out of the way place, little Bethlehem and in a stable. ”A rose among sinners.”


Sometimes our lives are peaceful and prosperous. Then violence and poverty appear. We look around today for those by-gone days and yearn for them as we see wars and rumors of wars breaking out over our world and wonder if there is any reason to hope. Some even suggest God shouldn’t or couldn’t be here in such a time. There is even a popular song, “From a Distance,” that expresses that idea very forcefully.


To the contrary, it is exactly what God chose to do—from a distance seeing “our sin and error” he planted “a Rose, Christ our Savior.” And he didn’t plant him in a royal garden like Versailles, but in a stable where animals lived. He lay in a manger, from which animals ate, in a stable where the animals who serve us lived and received sustenance. Even Bethlehem—the house of Bread—hints at the great sustenance we receive from our Lord Jesus, not just in peaceful times, but especially in difficult times. He comes to those “broken asunder” with gifts of great wonder.


So even as we suffer and see suffering throughout the world, we say with Brorson “The world may take all my possessions/Its thorns teach me terrible lessons’My heart may be broken and tender/This Rose I will never surrender!”


Cling to Jesus, the Rose among thorns, this Christmas, and rejoice at how near he comes to us with his beauty and love! Merry Christmas!



19th century etching of Brorson contemplating the Rose

Brorson became a pastor in Tønder, Denmark, a wealthy lace making center in its time. Christmas festivities were something of a celebration of the flesh which makes a kind of sense--God became flesh, but the revels were too much. Drink flowed freely and all of the joy and sorrow it caused made the festival less about Christ than about hedonistic pleasures. As a young pastor to the Danish members of the mixed German/Danish city, Brorson wrote several Christmas hymns to bring Christ back into Christmas. These were the first of his hymns and amazingly several of them have remained popular to this day. One cannot have Christmas in the Nordic countries without singing at least three or four of them. These were published in a small volume and later included in a book of hymns he called A Rare Treasury of Faith, published in 1739. I think this is his most beautiful as do many Danes. It was included in the Danish Cultural Canon. The Danish String Quartet has a gorgeous setting of it on their Last Leaf CD.


Kammerkoret con moto

Danish String Quartet

Stig Rossen Sings

Icelandic choir from Reykjavik singing a jazz version of a slightly different tune

Pile House Records

Engelskyts Anne Lise Berntsen/a Norwegian folk version of the tune

Ingolf Olsen/ Danish soloist with lute, probably the way Brorson played it


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.




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