“Puer natus in Bethlehem” (A child is born in Bethlehem) is a medieval Latin Christmas hymn, composed by an anonymous author (or authors). This hymn is of a very beautiful simplicity, absorbing easily and naturally so much theology in its poetry, and in its brief compass.
Puer natus in Bethlehem,
Unde gaudet Jerusalem,
In cordis jubilo,
Christum natum adoremus
Cum novo cantico.
Assumpsit carnem Filius,
Dei Patris altissimus,
Per Gabrielem nuntium,
Virgo concepit Filium,
Tamquam sponsus de thalamo,
Processit Matris utero,
Hic iacet in praesepio,
Qui regnat sine termino,
Cognovit bos et asinus,
Quod puer erat Dominus.
Et Angelus pastoribus,
Revelat quod sit Dominus,
Reges de Saba Veniunt,
Aurum thus myrrham offerunt,
Intrantes domum invicem,
Novum salutant Principem,
De Matre natus Virgine,
Sine virili semine,
Sine serpentis vulnere,
De nostro venit sanguine,
In carne nobis similis,
Peccato sed dissimilis,
Ut redderet nos homines,
Deo et sibi similes,
In hoc natali gaudio,
Laudetur sancta Trinitas,
Deo dicamus gratias,
English translation by Hamilton M. MacGill (1876)
A child is born in Bethlehem,
Exult for joy, Jerusalem!
Refrain (literal translation):
With an exultant heart,
let us adore the new-born Christ,
with a new song.
The Son of God the Father,
In the highest has taken flesh,
By angel Gabriel announced,
The virgin has conceived the Son.
Like a bridegroom from the chamber,
He proceeds from the womb of the mother.
Lo he who reigns above the skies,
There in a manger lowly, lies.
The ox and ass in neighb’ring stall,
See in that child the Lord of all.
And the angel to the shepherds, The Lord reveals that He is risen, Allelujah.
And kingly pilgrims, long foretold,
From East bring incense, myrrh and gold,
And enter with their offerings,
To hail the newborn King of Kings.
He comes, a maiden mother’s Son,
Yet earthly father has He none;
And from the serpent’s poison free,
He owned our blood and pedigree,
Our feeble flesh and His the same,
Our sinless kinsman He became,
That we, from deadly thrall set free,
Like Him, and so like God, should be.
Come then, and on his natal day,
Rejoice before the Lord and pray.
And to the holy One in Three.
Give praise and thanks eternally.