Featured Hymn: Good Christian Men, Rejoice

“Good Christian Men, Rejoice” by Cyril Alington (1931)

The story of this hymn has always been about accessibility to the Christmas story. In the late medieval period, there was a tradition of using folk songs to teach illiterate church-goers the Gospel story. This hymn is a good example of that practice. Written in a combination of Latin and German, it would be familiar in both the vernacular and the language of the Church. When set to a familiar folk tune, the people would be able to sing along with ease, and would understand the story.

Over the centuries, this hymn has been translated into many different languages, so many more people could hear and sing these beautiful words that call us to praise. A missionary diary claims that on September 14, 1745, at the Moravian mission in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, this hymn was simultaneously sung in thirteen different languages. What a marvelous thought, that we can sing the same song with brothers and sisters in Christ around the world, celebrating the story that began all of our own stories.


View this Featured Hymn at Hymnary.org.

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