Presbyterian 1955 Hymnbook: http://amzn.to/2zSRdpL

Episcopal 1940 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2DEOl1H 

Broadman 1940 Hymnal:  http://amzn.to/2C1WuwK

Lutheran 1941 Hymnal:  http://amzn.to/2zUmYi2

Methodist 1939 Hymnal:  http://amzn.to/2CfJ1Wq

Pilgrim 1935 Hymnal: http://amzn.to/2DDvbJC

Text (3rd Century Greek) Translated by Robert Bridges 1899

Tune: Nunc dimitis by Louis Bourgeois 1549

https://youtu.be/sVkd1l9RWcY

This is the oldest known Christian hymn which doesn’t come directly from Scriptures. It dates from sometime late in the 3rd or early in the 4th centuries. Christians sang in the evening during the candle lighting. At this time in Jerusalem, a lamp was kept lit at what was believed to be Jesus’s tomb. This hymn was sung by those who gathered to worship. Nearly every Christian tradition from Eastern Orthodox to Anglican to Roman Catholic to Lutheran continue to faithfully use this ancient hymn. The text has also been translated into Korean and Arabic along with a complete compliment of European languages. The Robert Bridges translation is the most common English translation, though there have been several.

1 O gladsome light, O grace
Of God the Father’s face,
The eternal splendour wearing;
Celestial, holy, blest,
Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
Joyful in thine appearing.

2 Now, ere day fadeth quite,
We see the evening light,
Our wonted hymn outpouring;
Father of might unknown,
Thee, his incarnate Son,
And Holy Spirit adoring.

3 To thee of right belongs
All praise of holy songs,
O Son of God, Lifegiver;
Thee, therefore, O Most High,
The world doth glorify,
And shall exalt forever.

While this hymn is usually associated with the Christmas season (Year B, 1st Sunday after Christmas day) its origins and use for over a millennium was not tied to a specific season, but was rather suitable for literally everyday use. The hymn draws upon several Scripture references to Jesus Christ being a light or radiance. (all references are KJV)

John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

John 9:5 As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

1 John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

It is during the evening lamp lighting we are reminded of the ultimate lamp who will light our soul for eternity.