Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Full Text

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)

Translator: John Mason Neale

Neale, John Mason, D.D., was born in Conduit Street, London, on Jan. 24, 1818. He inherited intellectual power on both sides: his father, the Rev. Cornelius Neale, having been Senior Wrangler, Second Chancellor's Medallist, and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge, and his mother being the daughter of John Mason Good, a man of considerable learning. Both father and mother are said to have been "very pronounced Evangelicals." The father died in 1823, and the boy's early training was entirely under the direction of his mother, his deep attachment for whom is shown by the fact that, not long before his death, he wrote of her as "a mother to whom I owe more than I can express." He was educated at Sherborne Grammar School, and was afterwards… Go to person page >


Scripture References:
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.

Liturgical Use:
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



IN DULCI JUBILO was originally a folk dance; it is filled with rhythmic energy. There are many organ and choral arrangements of this tune. Sing this lilting lively carol in unison or in parts with bright flute accompaniment (either real flutes or flute stops on the organ). Observe a ritardando only…

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