Christ, Thou Who Art Both Day and Light

Tune: Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht

Note: Syllables spanning two notes are in bold.

  1. Christ, Thou who art both Day and Light,
    To Thee, Lord, naught is veiled in night.
    In Thee the Father’s light doth shine:
    Teach us the way of truth divine.

  2. We pray Thee in Thy heav’nly might
    That Thou wouldst keep us, Lord, this night.
    Preserve us, Lord, from all distress,
    God Father, in Thy kindliness.

  3. Drive off, Lord Christ, all troubled sleep;
    The foe’s devices from us keep;
    In decency our flesh be pure;
    Then we’ll be free of ev’ry care.

  4. Though closed in sleep our eyes may be,
    Grant that our hearts may wake to Thee.
    Be God our Shield with His right hand,
    And loose us from the bonds of sin.

  5. O Lord, Thou Shield of Christian folk,
    Be ever ready with Thy help;
    Deliver us, Lord God, from dread,
    Through Thy five holy wounds of red.

  6. Remember, Lord, the troubled times
    In which our body bounden lies;
    To souls which Thou hast justified,
    Thy comfort, Jesus, be supplied.

  7. To God the Father be all praise,
    Which also to His Son we raise,
    And to the Spirit praises be
    From now unto eternity.


Latin: Christe qui lux es et dies
Attr. Ambrose of Milan, 4th c.
German Version: Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht
Wolfgang Musculus, 1527
Tr. Christopher J. Neuendorf, 2014

German Text

Tune: Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht

  1. Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht,
    Vor dir ist, Herr, verborgen nichts;
    Du väterliches Lichtes Glanz,
    Lehr uns den Weg der Wahrheit ganz.

  2. Wir bitten dein göttliche Kraft,
    Behüt uns, Herr, in dieser Nacht;
    Bewahr uns, Herr, vor allem Leid,
    Gott Vater der Barmherzigkeit.

  3. Vertreib des schweren Schlafens Frist,
    Daß uns nicht schad des Feindes List,
    Das Fleisch in Züchten reine sei;
    So sind wir mancher Sorgen frei.

  4. So unsre Augen schlafen shier,
    Laß unser Herze wachen dir;
    Beschirm uns Gottes rechte Hand
    Und lös uns von der Sünden Band.

  5. Beschirmer, Herr der Christenheit,
    Dein Hilf allzeit sei uns bereit.
    Hilf uns, Herr Gott, aus aller Not
    Durch dein heilig fünf Wunden rot.

  6. Gedenk, o Herr, der schweren Zeit,
    Darin der Leib gefangen leit;
    Die Seele, die du hast erlöst,
    Der gib, Herr Jesu, deinen Trost.

  7. Gott Vater sei Lob, Ehr und Preis,
    Dazu auch seinen Sohne weis,
    Des Heilgen Geistes Gütigkeit,
    Von nun an bis in Ewigkeit.


Christe qui lux est et dies
Attr. Ambrose of Milan, 4th c.
German Version: Wolfgang Musculus, 1527
Source: C.F.W. Walther’s Kirchen-Gesangbuch, No. 313


Christe, der du bist Tag und Licht” is a 1527 German translation by Reformed theologian Wolfgang Musculus from a fourth-century Latin original, “Christe qui lux est et dies,” which was traditionally sung for compline at the close of the day. The German version was included in Lutheran hymnals with either the original plainchant melody, or a simplified syllabic melody that is strikingly similar to that for “Erhalt uns Herr bei deinem Wort” (“Lord, Keep Us Steadfast in Thy Word”). The hymn appears with the plainchant melody in Valentin Babst’s Geystliche Lieder, Leipzig, 1545, among the ancient hymns “which we have also included as a witness to certain pious Christians who lived before us in the great darkness of false doctrine, that one may see that there have always been people who rightly confessed Christ, and were wonderfully kept by God’s grace in the same confession.”

A translation by William J. Copeland from the Latin original, “O Christ, Who Art the Light and Day,” appears in The Lutheran Hymnal, No. 559, and the Lutheran Service Book, No. 882. TLH provides the version of the original melody inherited through Layriz and the Mehrstimmiges Choralbuch, but in LSB a different melody is used (the plainchant “Conditor alme siderum“), with no harmonization. For the Free Lutheran Chorale-Book, we have prepared a new translation based on the German version. The music provided here is a new arrangement of the original plainchant melody as found in Babst, with influences from a number of earlier settings. Both text and music may be freely used and reproduced for any purpose whatever, and are offered with the prayer that they may serve for the edification of Christian people everywhere.

The hymn as it appears in Joseph Klug's hymnal, with the simplified melody

The hymn as it appears in Joseph Klug’s hymnal, with the simplified melody