Spiritual songs >The Hymnal Project > Nativity

Current version

Here is the version in the Byzantine Catholic Hymnal (2007):


Jesus came from heaven

Boh predvicnyj

The English translation is by Monsignor William Levkulic.


As noted in the discussion of God the Lord eternal, we have two Slavonic hymns (Hospod, Boh predvičnyj and Spas naš narodilsja) which seem to have come from the same Polish Christmas carol. Spas naš narodilsja as already lost one of its verses to Hospod, Boh predvičnyj, and I don't have any problem leaving that verse with God the Lord eternal.

So what do we do with the rest of Spas naš narodilsja and Jesus came from heaven?

The problem here is NOT with the Slavonic hymn, but with the English. Specifically:

Jesus did NOT come from heaven.

Let me explain. In the Incarnation, the eternal Son and Word of God came down from heaven, and by the power of the Holy Spirit took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary. This was the God-man, Jesus, the promised Messiah, or Christ ("anointed one"). As we read in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

The Church thus confesses that Jesus is inseparably true God and true man. (CCC 469)

Jesus, as God and Man, did not come from heaven (though he will return from there). If we take away "Jesus came from heaven" from the hymn, as well as the refrain which it shares with God the Lord eternal, there's just not much left – certainly not much that is unique to this hymn. So I think we have two basic choices:

  1. Translate the remaining verses of Spas naš narodilsja and make a new song to replace Jesus came from heaven.
  2. Simply drop Jesus came from heaven without replacement (since the same basc content is in God the Lord eternal).

I don't take this lightly. I don't have a problem with any given spiritual song not teaching the complete story of any aspect of our faith. But we do our people, especially children, an injustice by singing things that are untrue.

Thoughts or suggestions?

Please leave a comment on this blog entry: Five Christmas Songs.