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Saint John’s hymn of the month for December is #335 from our new Lutheran Service Book: “O Bride of Christ, Rejoice.” While this hymn may be new to our congregation, it was was part of The Lutheran Hymnal of 1941.

The text has Danish roots from around 1600. The author is unknown, but it was translated into English by Victor O. Petersen (1864–1929) in 1899. Petersen was born in Sweden and came to America in 1867. Though he worked as a chemistry professor, he was a lover of hymns. He translated a number of them from the Swedish Psalmbook, including this one for The Lutheran Hymnal.

The tune “Wo soll ich fliehen hin” translates as “where shall I flee out.” It is from Kaspar Stieler’s Der Bussfertige Sünder oder Geistliches Handbüchlein (The Repentant Sinner or Spiritual Songbook), published in Nurnberg in 1679. It is unknown if Stieler composed the tune or not. Whoever wrote it, the tune was originally a setting of the repentance hymn “The Repentant Sinner,” by Johann Heermann.

This lovely hymn is based on two scripture passages. The first is Matthew 21:1–16. This is the Palm Sunday passage where Jesus rides into Jerusalem and the crowds shout “Hosanna to the Son of David.” The second is Zechariah 9:9. In this prophecy, Zechariah writes, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”

Enjoy more information about new hymns or the hymns you already love as we explore the Lutheran hymnody. Use this month’s hymn in your devotions and get to know the tune. We’ll be singing it a few times in worship over the next month or so and adding it to our growing congregational repertoire! Information for this article came from The Hymnal Companion to the Lutheran Book of Worship (Augsburg Fortress Press) and the Hymn Stories series (Kregel Press).