Christmas with Chinese Characteristics I

posted in: Holidays | 0

Christmas is coming to Beijing.  Although China does not officially celebrate the holiday, there are still signs that it is coming, like a creepy life-size plastic dancing Santa Claus (I’ll save that for another time).  Churches celebrate Christmas in many different ways.  Many of them are very familiar to North Americans, and some have distinct Chinese flavor.  Yesterday, we sang a Chinese Christmas carol during the service.  I took a video on my phone so you can get an idea of how it sounds (by the way, don’t worry that I was too obtrusive in taking the video; I saw a girl taking very obvious selfies during the service yesterday).  The text was written by Ching-chiu Yang in 1930 and translated by Mildred A. Wiant c. 1966 and the melody by Chi-fang Liang in 1934.  The English lyrics, as printed in the English-Chinese Bilingual version of The New Hymnal (the hymnal used by registered churches in China), are below the video.

 

 

 

 

Midnight stars make bright the skies, Bethlehem in slumber lies;

Glist’ning heav’n send forth great light, Shepherds see a wondrous sight!

Angel ranks in chorus sing, Silken sounds from heaven ring,

Frightened shepherds hear them say: “Christ comes down to earth today!”

Glory be to God on high, Blest are all beneath the sky.

 

Midnight slumber lies o’er all, One lone, bright lamp lights the stall.

Choose old clothing, wrap Him warmly Manger shall His cradle be.

Will’d to save from Satan’s heel, Word made flesh, his truth revealed,

Came as man from heaven’s throne, Mortals’ sin to bear alone.

Glory be to God on high, Blest are all beneath the sky.

 

God from man sin separates, Sin’s within, faith dissipates.

I am prove to devilish way, Wander hopeless in a maze.

God’s Good Shepherd cares for me, How can I a lost sleep be?

My clean heart shall be His throne, Not an inn with no more room.

My clean heart shall be His throne, Not an inn with no more room.

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