Office Hymn for Christmas

A Solis Ortus Cardine
Office hymn for Lauds during the Christmas Season

From east, where sunrise has its birth,
Across to western rims of earth,
Unto the virgin-born they ring:
The Church’s songs to Christ, the King.

For He, the Lord of ages blest
Is in a servile body dressed,
That flesh by flesh might be set free
that what He made to be would be.

The Mother’s inmost hidden place
is virginally reached by grace.
Within her virgin womb there grows
a secret that nobody knows

This chaste heart’s home has suddenly
The Lord’s own temple come to be.
Unknown by man, and not undone,
a word made her conceive the Son.

And Him the Blessed Mother bore,
Whom Gabriel made known before,
for Whom, when hearing Mary’s voice,
before he saw Him, John rejoiced,

He let Himself be laid in hay;
He willed the manger where he lay;
and He who keeps the birds replete
has just a little milk to eat.

The chorus of the stars and skies
and angels sing with joyful cries:
to shepherds is their Maker shown,
and as a Shepherd He is known.

O Jesus, Virgin-born, to You
be glory as is ever due
Whom with the Father we adore
and Spirit blest forevermore.

Trans. 2014 Kathleen Pluth