On this day earth shall ring with the song children sing to the Lord, Christ our King, born on earth to save us; him the Father gave us. Ideo-o-o, ideo-o-o, ideo gloria in excelsis Deo!
Written in the middle ages and first published in Scandinavia during the sixteenth-century, this classic carol is based upon the Christmas and Epiphany stories. It is quite a stately tune that lends itself to the pomp and circumstance of the three kings of which it speaks.
Throughout the hymn, the lyrics explore the connection between the Christmas story and the end of Christ’s life. We know that the gifts of the magi – gold, frankincense and myrrh – all denote important aspects of who Christ is. The gold is for a king. The frankincense is for a God. And the myrrh is for his burial. Even in the beginning of the story we see its end.
Perhaps the most essential line of this song is his the doom, ours the mirth. It is not that we rejoice in the coming death of our Savior, but that his willing sacrifice does result in new life for which there should be great rejoicing. And for that great gift, there is much to celebrate.
On this day angels sing; with their song earth shall ring, praising Christ, heaven’s King, born on earth to save us; peace and love he gave us. Ideo-o-o, ideo-o-o, ideo gloria in excelsis Deo!