Epiphany Hymns and their Story
February 15, 2023

“From God the Father, Virgin-Born”

This is an anonymous hymn, written in Latin for the Feast of the Epiphany found in manuscripts as early as the 11th century. Its origin is unknown. It is written in a Latin format that was rarely used, but required great knowledge of language. It was written in an “alphabetical hymn form”; meaning that with the words of the 2nd line through the last line each word follows the alphabet when choosing the next word [Latin]. Here it is: “ad, baptisma, cunctos, de, excepit, facturam, gaudia, hoc, inlabere, klarumque, lumen, etc.. [it is actually quite impressive].
This is a hymn of the new creation, as the Father’s only Son, born of the Virgin Mary, enters our world from heaven, revealing Himself as the Creator come us to save. The first two verses capture the Gospel narrative of Jesus’ journey from heaven to earth and back to heaven. Jesus descends to become one of us, to live among us as teacher and miracle worker, rejected prophet, to die our death on a cross, to be buried in the earth, rise from the dead on the third day, and ascend back to heaven on the 40th day.
Ever since the crucified and risen Lord broke bread with His disciples on Easter day, the Church has been waiting for Him to return and make us completely whole. And He goes before us in the fight as soldiers on the front lines of this apocalyptic battle.
A doxological and trinitarian ending is the fitting way to conclude such an Epiphany hymn. To the Lord of all glory be for this His blest Epiphany and to God whom all His hosts adore and to the Holy Spirit forevermore.

1 From God the Father, virgin born
To us the only Son came down;
By death the font to consecrate,
The faithful to regenerate.

LSB 401

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