Good Hymns Take Time

As part of this morning’s devotions, I decided that I would sing a Christmas hymn that (a) I don’t often sing, (b) is still appropriate on the 11th (i.e. not of the “this night/morning” variety), and (c) is really, really good.

Alas, such hymns are not so easy to find. Not chiefly because I know so many Published Views on the Matter of Long Hymns(criterion [a]), but more so many are written for the day rather than the season (criterion [b]). Also, too many are not altogether fantastic as hymns (see [c]), especially those written during and after the nineteenth century.

So, in my search, I gave up on Lutheran Service Book (LSB) and turned instead to Matthew Carver’s marvellous Walther’s Hymnal.* There, I found what I was looking for.

Not only does it contain Paul Gerhardt’s We Sing, Immanuel, Thy Praise, which was inexplicably left out of LSB (and its predecessor, Lutheran Worship), but it includes the whole hymn.

In this case, the whole hymn means all 20 (twenty) stanzas.** Now, in spite of my Published Views on the Matter of Long Hymns, even I would hesitate to include a 20-stanza hymn on a Sunday morning. At the very least, I would engage in some serious preparation and forewarning beforehand.

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