Good Christian men, rejoiceTranslator: John Mason Neale
Tune: IN DULCI JUBILO
Published in 169 hymnals
Printable scores: PDF, SibeliusAudio files: MIDI
1 Good Christian friends, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
give ye heed to what we say:
Jesus Christ was born today.
Ox and ass before him bow,
and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today!
Christ is born today!
2 Good Christian friends, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
now ye hear of endless bliss:
Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven's door,
and we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this!
Christ was born for this!
3 Good Christian friends, rejoice
with heart and soul and voice;
now ye need not fear the grave:
Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all
to gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save!
Christ was born to save!
Psalter Hymnal, (Gray)
|First Line:||Good Christian men, rejoice|
|Title:||Good Christian Men, Rejoice|
|Latin Title:||In dulci jubilo|
|Translator:||John Mason Neale|
|Source:||Latin Hymn, 14th cent.; German/Latin, medieval|
st. 1 = Luke 2:11
Expressing the good news of the birth of Christ, who is born to save, this medieval carol calls all Christians to "rejoice with heart and soul and voice!" The earliest manuscript of the text dates from around 1400 (Leipzig), though the carol wasn't published until 1533 in Joseph Klug's Geistliche Lieder (PHH 126). Mention of the carol, however, was made by a fourteenth¬ century writer who claimed that angels sang this hymn while dancing with the mystic Heinrich Suso (d. 1366). The carol is part of the late medieval tradition of teaching Bible stories to peasants by means of folk music. The original bilingual text combined Latin and German.
John M. Neale (PHH 342) provided a rather free English paraphrase that was published in his Carols for Christmastide (1853). The English text originally began "Good Christian men, rejoice" and also included additional words because Neale's associate, Thomas Helmore (PHH 328), made an error in transcribing the rhythm of the tune.
Christmas Day or Christmas Eve worship services, especially early in the service; festivals of lessons and carols; "carols from many lands" services; church school programs.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook
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.
The original text of this hymn was written in both German and Latin, probably in the fourteenth century, since the earliest manuscript dates from around 1400. John M. Neale translated the hymn and paraphrased it rather loosely, but his translation is the most commonly used today. Most modern hymnals include almost the same text, with a few small exceptions. Some hymnals, such as the Trinity Hymnal, have replaced “ox and ass” with “Earth and heav’n,” others, like Common Praise, have replaced “ye” with “you,” and others, such as the Psalter Hymnal, have replaced the non-inclusive “men” with “friends” or “all.”
IN DULCI JUBILO was an old German folk dance filled with rhythmic energy and exuberance. Paul Westermeyer notes, “The catchy melody bounces along in a triple rhythm that is easily sung and danced” (Let the People Sing, 39), and Albert Bailey acknowledges that “the continued popularity of the carol is undoubtedly due in part to the swinging fourteenth-century German melody to which it is set” (The Gospel in Hymns, 276).
This sprightly tune needs little in the way of accompaniment; else it could become bogged down. Try playing with light picking on the acoustic guitar, and if you can, have a pipe or flute, or a violin play the melody in a medieval/celtic style. If you have an organ, use flute stops or a very light registration, and sing one verse a cappella.
This Christmas hymn acts as a wonderful Call to Worship on Christmas morning, calling God’s people to enter into worship rejoicing, for Christ the Savior is born.
Alternative Harmonization for Organ:
Alternative Harmonization for Piano:
Laura de Jong, Hymnary.org
|Instances (44)||First Line||Text Title||Refrain First Line||Authors||Composers||Meter||Scripture||Tune Title||Tune Key||Incipit||Languages||Publication Date|
|찬송과 예배 = Chansong gwa yebae = Come, Let Us Worship: the Korean-English Presbyterian hymnal and service book #155||성 도 여 기 뻐 찬 양 해 (Good Christian friends, rejoice)||성 도 여 기 뻐 찬 양 해 (Good Christian Friends, Rejoice)||John Mason Neale||Gary Alan Smith||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.5||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English; Korean||2001|
|A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools #228||Good Christian friends, rejoice||In dulci jubilo||1992|
|Ambassador Hymnal: for Lutheran worship #34||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale, 1818-1866||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||1994|
|Baptist Hymnal 1991 #96||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||Irregular||1 Peter 1:8||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||1991|
|Baptist Hymnal 2008 #183||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||Irregular||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||2008|
|Celebrating Grace Hymnal #122||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||2010|
|Chalice Hymnal #164||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||David Hugh Jones||Irregular||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||1995|
|Christmas Favorites #33||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||[Good Christian men, rejoice]||2000|
|Church Hymnal, Fifth Edition #159||Good Christian men, rejoice||2000|
|Church Hymnary (4th ed.) #322||Good Christians, all rejoice||John Mason Neale (1818-1866)||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||1 Timothy 1:15; Luke 2:1-14; Revelation 4:1||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||2005|
|Common Praise (1998) #153||Good Christians all, rejoice||Good Christians All, Rejoice||John Mason Neale (1818-1866)||Robert Lucas Pearsall (1795-1856); John Stainer (1840-1901)||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||Psalm 97; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:1-20; John 14:1-14; Hebrews 1:1-12; Hebrews 2:10-18; Psalm 97; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:1-20; John 14:1-14; Hebrews 1:1-12; Hebrews 2:10-18||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||1998|
|Complete Anglican Hymns Old & New #245||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian men, rejoice||2000|
|Complete Mission Praise #196||Good Christian men, rejoice||Irregular||2000|
|Evangelical Lutheran Worship #288||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale, 1818-1866||Robert L. Pearsall, 1795-1856||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or Modal||Englsih||2006|
|Gather (3rd ed.) #440||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John M. Neal, 1818-1866||Robert L. Pearsall, 1795-1856||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||Matthew 2:1-11; Luke 2:7; Luke 2:10-11||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||Latin; English||2011|
|Gather Comprehensive #362||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John M. Neal, 1818-1866||Robert L. Pearsall, 1795-1856||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||Matthew 2:1-11; Luke 2:7-11||IN DULCE JUBILO||F Major||Latin; English||1994|
|Gather Comprehensive, Second Edition #367||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John M. Neale, 1818-1866||Robert L. Pearsall, 1795-1856||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||IN DULCI JUBILO||Latin; English||2004|
|Glory to God: the Presbyterian Hymnal #132||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||David Hugh Jones||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||Luke 1:77-79; Luke 2:7; Luke 2:10-20; Ephesians 1:3-12; 1 Timothy 1:15||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||2013|
|Hymnal 1982: according to the use of the Episcopal Church #107||Good Christian friends, rejoice||John Mason Neale, 1818-1866||Charles Winfred Douglas, 1867-1944||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||1985|
|Hymns for Today's Church (2nd ed.) #85||Good Christians all, rejoice||J. M. Neale (1818-1866)||J. Stainer (1840-1901); R. L. Pearsall (1795-1856)||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||1987|
|Hymns of Faith #119||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||John M. Neale||Luke 2:11||[Good Christian men, rejoice]||F Major or modal||1980|
|Hymns Old and New: New Anglican #182||Good Christian men, rejoice||Irregular||1996|
|Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #98||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John M. Neale||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||Luke 2:11||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||2013|
|Moravian Book of Worship #291||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||Irregular||Matthew 1:23; Luke 2:17-20||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||1995|
|Praise! Our Songs and Hymns #198||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||John M. Neale||John Stainer||IN DULCI JUBILO||1979|
|Presbyterian Hymnal: hymns, psalms, and spiritual songs #28||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||David Hugh Jones||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||Luke 2:7||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||1990|
|Psalter Hymnal (Gray) #355||Good christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11||Matthew 2:1-12||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||1987|
|Rejoice Hymns #203||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||Irregular||Matthew 2:10||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||2011|
|Rejoice in the Lord #218||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||J. M. Neale||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||1985|
|Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal #136||Good Christians, now rejoice||IN DULCI JUBILO||1985|
|Sing Glory: Hymns, Psalms and Songs for a New Century #349||Good Christian men, rejoice||Irregular||1999|
|Sing Joyfully #214||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||John M. Neale||[Good Christian men, rejoice]||F Major||English||1989|
|The Celebration Hymnal: songs and hymns for worship #273||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||John M. Neale||John Stainer||Irregular||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||1997|
|The Christian Life Hymnal #94||Good Christian friends, rejoice||In Dulci Jubilo||2006|
|The Covenant Hymnal: a worshipbook #173||Good Christians all, rejoice||Good Christians All, Rejoice||John M. Neale, 1818-1866||John Stainer, 1840-1901||Irregular||Luke 2:8-14||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||1996|
|The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration #151||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||John M. Neale||John Stainer||Irregular||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||1986|
|The New Century Hymnal #129||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||John Stainer; H. A. Chambers||126.96.36.199.188.8.131.52||Matthew 2:1-11||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||English||1995|
|The United Methodist Hymnal #224||Good Christian friends rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||Gary Alan Smith||184.108.40.206.220.127.116.11.5||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||1989|
|The United Methodist Hymnal Music Supplement #180||[Good Christian friends, rejoice]||Gary Alan Smith||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||1991|
|The Worshiping Church #157||Good Christian friends rejoice with heart and soul and voice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John M. Neale||Irregular||Luke 2:8-20; Luke 2:11||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||1990|
|Together in Song: Australian Hymn Book II #313||Good Christian men, rejoice||Irregular||1999|
|Trinity Hymnal (Rev. ed.) #207||Good Christian men, rejoice||Good Christian Men, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||W. D.||18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124||Luke 2:11-12||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||1990|
|Voices United: The Hymn and Worship Book of The United Church of Canada #35||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John Mason Neale||Gary Alan Smith||Irregular||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major||English||1996|
|Worship and Rejoice #198||Good Christian friends, rejoice||Good Christian Friends, Rejoice||John M. Neale, 1818-1866||Irregular||Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 1:15; Matthew 22:37; John 3:16-17; Deuteronomy 6:5; Luke 2:8-20; Mark 12:30||IN DULCI JUBILO||F Major or modal||2001|