This is my favourite Christmas Day carol.
I love singing John Byrom’s lyrics, set to the tune Yorkshire, at the start of Christmas worship.
Christians, awake, salute the happy morn
whereon the Savior of the world was born.
Rise to adore the mystery of love
which hosts of angels chanted from above.
With them the joyful tidings were begun
of God incarnate and the virgin’s Son.
Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
who heard th’angelic herald’s voice: “Behold,
I bring good tidings of a Savior’s birth
to you and all the nations on the earth.
This day has God fulfilled his promised word:
this day is born a Savior, Christ the Lord!”
He spake, and straightway the celestial choir
in hymns of joy, unknown before, conspire;
the praises of redeeming love they sang,
and heav’n’s whole orb with alleluias rang;
God’s highest glory was their anthem still,
peace on the earth, and unto men good will.
To Bethl’hem straight the happy shepherds ran,
to see the wonder God had wrought for man;
and found, with Joseph and the blessed maid,
her son, the Savior, in a manger laid;
amazed, the wondrous story they proclaim,
the earliest heralds of the Savior’s name.
Let us, like these good shepherds, then employ
our grateful voices to proclaim the joy;
trace we the babe, who hath retrieved our loss,
from his poor manger to his bitter corss;
treading his steps, assisted by his grace,
till man’s first heav’nly state again takes place.
Then may we hope, th’angelic throngs among,
to sing, redeemed, a glad triumphant song;
he that was born upon this joyful day
around us all his glory shall display;
saved by his love, incessant we shall sing
eternal praise to heav’n’s almighty King.
Here’s a classic version. Merry Christmas.