“How Great Our Joy!”

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
Luke 2:15 KJV

How Great Our Joy is a German Christmas carol from the 1500s. It was translated by Theodore Baker and the music arranged by Hugo Jüngst. It has a lovely echo part, and you may have heard it called, The Echo Carol. It’s also known as While By The Sheep.1 Given its age and nationality, I’ve wondered if Martin Luther was familiar with this carol, and if he sang it with joy about the Child who redeemed us all.

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
Luke 2:15 KJV

The Shepherd´s Field near Bethlehem: Friedrich Perlberg. From the private collection of Wolfgang Sauber (Xenophon). Public Domain.
1While By The Sheep,” The Hymns and Carols of Christmas.

Copyright ©2020–2022 Iwana Carpenter

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