The first Christmas hymn of the Lutheran Reformation was "All Praise to Thee, Eternal God." The Roman Catholic Church permitted the Germans to sing the first stanza in German in their Christmas Mass.
Martin Luther added the additional stanzas to complete this Lutheran chorale. It was distributed on single sheets called "broadsheets" in time for Christmas in 1523. The ancient melody for this hymn goes back to the 1300s.
J.S. Bach used this hymn in his Choralkantate for Christmas Day. He also used the German sixth stanza in his famous "Christmas Oratorio."
—Pastor Gordon Waterman
1. All praise to Thee, eternal God;
Who, clothed in garb of flesh and blood,
Dost take a manger for Thy throne,
While worlds on worlds are Thine alone.
2. One did the skies before Thee bow;
A virgin’s arms contain Thee now,
While angels, who in Thee rejoice,
Now listen for Thine infant voice.
3. A little Child, Thou are our Guest
That weary ones in Thee may rest;
Forlorn and lowly is Thy birth
That we may rise to heav’n from earth.
4. Thou comest in the darksome night
To make us children of the light,
To make us in the realms divine,
Like Thine own angels, round Thee shine.
5. All this for us Thy love hath done;
By this to Thee our love is won;
For this our joyful songs we raise
And shout our thanks in ceaseless praise.
By Martin Luther, 1524
Based on John 1:14