Christ My Song - 145
Christ, whose first appearance lighted - The appearance of Christ (Carl Johann Philipp Spitta/Richard Massie/
Johannes Thomas Rüegg)
The appearance of Christ.
1. Christ, whose first appearance lighted
gloomy death's obscure domain,
long, in Herod's courts benighted,
sought I thee, but sought in vain;
all was glitter, pomp, and pleasure,
sensuality, and pride,
but my heart found not its treasure,
and remained unsatisfied.
2. Then to learned scribes and sages,
seeking Christ, I wandered on,
but upon their barren pages
Jacob's star had never shone;
true indeed, like men in prison
groping for the light of day,
spake they of the Light new-risen,
but themselves saw not one ray.
3. To the temple I was guided
by the altar-fire and lights,
but, though all else was provided,
Christ was absent from the rites.
Then more precious time I wasted
in thy streets, Jerusalem,
but I sought in vain, and hasted
on my way to Bethlehem.
4. In the streets I wandered slowly,
looking for some trusty guide;
all was dark and melancholy,
none I met with far and wide.
On a sudden I perceivèd
o'er my head a star to shine;
lo, because I had believèd,
and had sought him, Christ was mine.
5. Only seek, and you will find him,
never cease to seek the Lord;
and should he delay, remind him
boldly of his plighted word.
Follow him, and he will lead you;
trust him in the darkest night;
Jacob's star will still precede you,
Jacob's star will give you light.
Richard Massie, Lyra Domestica I, 1863, 18-19.
Translated from the German Der du in der Nacht des Todes - Erscheinung Christi
of Carl Johann Philipp Spitta.