Music for the Christ Child: Puer natus est nobis

"For unto us a Child is born" ("Puer natus est nobis") are the first words of the Introit for the third Mass of Christmas Day.

These words are derived from the Old Testament prophecy of Isaias (chapter 9:6-7):

For a CHILD IS BORN to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace. His empire shall be multiplied, and there shall be no end of peace: he shall sit upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom; to establish it and strengthen it with judgment and with justice, from henceforth and for ever: the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

The full text of the Christmas Day Introit is:

Puer natus est nobis, et filius datus est nobis, cujus imperium super humerum ejus et vocabitur nomen ejus, magni consilii Angelus.

(Ps. 97:1) Cantate Domino canticum novum quia mirabilia fecit. Gloria Patri, etc.

A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us: Whose government is upon His shoulder: and His Name shall be called, the Angel of Great Counsel.

(Ps. 97:1) Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: because He hath done wonderful things. Glory be, etc.

This prayer of exhaltation for the Christ Child has been wonderfully set to music, not only in Gregorian chant, but also inspirationally in polyphonic and modern compositions. Here for the edification of our readers we offer a few musical selections available on YouTube.

Traveling to the Holy Land itself, we offer from the Eastern Rites in Arabic this Byzantine Hymn of the Nativity.

Lastly, we would be amiss to neglect mentioning the Introit chant from the Midnight Mass of Christmas, Dominus dixit ad me.

Dominus dixit ad me: Filius meus es tu, ego hodie genui te. (Ps. 2:7-1) Quare fremuerunt gentes:  et populi meditati sunt inania? Gloria Patri, etc. The Lord hath said to me: Thou art My Son, this day have I begotten Thee. (Ps. 2:7-1) Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things? Glory be, etc.

If you would like to have the Roman chants of Christmas at your fingertips, you can purchase these CDs produced by the monks of Solesmes available from Angelus Press: