1 What star is this, with beams so bright,
more lovely than the noonday light?
’Tis sent to announce a newborn king,
glad tidings of our God to bring.
2 ’Tis now fulfilled what God decreed,
“From Jacob shall a star proceed;"
and lo! the eastern sages stand
to read in heaven the Lord’s command.
3 While outward signs the star displays,
an inward light the Lord conveys
and urges them, with tender might,
to seek the giver of the light.
4 O Jesus, while the star of grace
impels us on to seek your face,
let not our slothful hearts refuse
the guidance of your light to use.
|First Line:||What star is this, with beams so bright|
|Title:||What Star Is This, with Beams So Bright|
|Author:||Charles Coffin (1736)|
|Translator:||John Chandler (1837, alt.)|
|Scripture:||Numbers 24:17; Matthew 2:1-12|
|Topic:||Christian Year: Nativity/Christmas; Christian Year: Epiphany; Jesus Christ: Birth|
|Name:||PUER NOBIS NASCITUR|
|Adapter:||Michael Praetorius (1609)|
|Harmonizer:||George Ratcliffe Woodward (1910)|
|Source:||Trier ms., 15th cent.|
|Notes:||(alternate harmonization, 254)|
This 18th-century Latin text calls attention to three kinds of light: the light of the star leading the Magi to the Christ-child, the inward light inspiring their journey, and Christ who is the Light of the world. The simple unison melody unites everything in a gentle arc.