Born to Die, Born to Rise


Christmas can become saccharine when it’s populated only with sweet baby Jesuses, choruses of angels, and mild Marys. Just as the Magis’ myrrh foreshadowed Jesus’ burial, “Ah, Holy Jesus” reminds us of the full meaning of the incarnation. This piece weaves “Lo, How a Rose” and “Ah, Holy Jesus” together in musical counterpoint that thickens both their differences and underlying unity. After focusing on these two sides of Christ, our only response can be praise; the piece ends with a rousing rendition of “All My Heart Again Rejoices.”

Full orchestration for choirs, piano, organ, and brass. Price allows you to make as many copies as you need for your ensemble.

music by Greg Scheer
texts by Theodore Baker, Johann Heermann, and Paul Gerhardt
commissioned for the 2017 Calvin College Lessons and Carols Service

Choral fantasy on the hymns “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” “Ah, Holy Jesus,” and “All My Heart Again Rejoices.”

1. Lo, how a rose e’er blooming
from tender stem hath sprung;
of Jesse’s lineage coming,
as saints of old hath sung.
It came, a floweret, bright,
amid the cold of winter,
when half-spent was the night.

Ah, holy Jesus,
how hast Thou offended,
that mortal judgment
has on Thee descended?
By foes derided,
by Thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

2. O Savior, child of Mary,
who felt our human woe;
O Savior, King of glory,
who dost our weakness know,
True man, yet very God,
from sin and death he saves us,
and shares our every load.

For me, kind Jesus,
was Thine incarnation,
Thy human sorrow,
and Thy life’s oblation,
Thy death of anguish,
and Thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

3. The shepherds heard the story
proclaimed by angels bright,
how Christ, the Lord of glory,
was born on earth this night.
To Bethlehem they sped
and in the manger found him,
as angel heralds said.

All my heart again rejoices,
as I hear, far and near,
sweetest angel voices;
Christ is born,
their choirs are singing,
till the air, everywhere,
now with joy is ringing.

Come, then, let us hasten yonder;
here let all, great and small,
kneel in awe and wonder,
love him who
with love is yearning;
hail the star that from far
bright with hope is burning.

Thou, dear Lord, I’ll ever cherish;
though my breath fail in death,
I will never perish;
by Thy side
in light eternal
I shall be endlessly
filled with joy supernal.

Born to die,
born to rise,
born for our salvation.