Winter Hymn

by Joachim Neander
translated by Aaron Jensen

Joachim Neander (1650-1680) was a Reformed teacher and hymnist. He enjoyed wandering through the countryside near Duesseldorf, where he served as principal. Eventually in his honor this area was named Neanderthal, which means “Neander Valley,” and so indirectly he lent his name to the fossil found there in 1856. The most popular of his hymns is “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” (CW234). This winter hymn, set to the melody “Gott Sei Dank Durch All Welt” (CW226), is also still sung today by the Amish to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.”

On these quiet lonely days
I am ready You to praise.
God, please hear me when I speak
For my soul now You does seek!

You, who all the stars well guides
And the course of years decides,
Never change: Your work You do
Always hidden from our view.

This most frigid winter air
Strongly to our hearts declares:
“Summer far away has flown.
It comes from the Lord alone!”

Frost, like ashes, is outpoured
Down from the hand of the Lord.
Who can freezing winds withstand
From the coldest arctic lands?

Just like wool He spreads the snow,
Cov’ring land and sea below.
But when God’s warm breeze draws near,
It soon melts and disappears.

Nature’s ruler, with these signs
You show us the passing times!
Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring,
Come and go at Your bidding.

My soul just as willingly
Follows what Your Word tells me!
Jesus, may Your love too steer
All my actions in this year!

Outside there’s an icy chill,
But my heart is burning still.
Savior, Your light to me give
And for You I’ll glow and live!