In the same poll in which experts ranked “In the Bleak Midwinter” as the best Christmas carol, do you know what the second one is?
“Good Christian Men, Rejoice” – also called ““in dulci jubilo” (Latin for “in sweet rejoicing”) comes from the Middle Ages – some think from Heinrich Seuse in 1328, a mystic, who heard angels singing and danced in worship with them. The original hymn is often referred to as a “macaronic” text, meaning that “in dulci jubilo” used a hybrid of Latin and German words. It was set to music in 1906 by composer Gustav Holst, but the most popular setting came three years later by Harold Darke.
But before it was set to music in 1906, it was also a poem: Christina Rossetti published the poem for the first time in January 1872, a rich contrast of the Incarnation and its humble Nativity surroundings next to the glorious details of the Second Coming.
It’s a very short song, but “In Dulci Jubilo” has a lot to say and praise – you can sing along to the Willows Academy’s rendition of the Christmas carol below!