Norwegian Christmas Song – Jeg Er Sa Glad
Jeg Er Saa glad was composed in 1859 by Peder Knudsen with lyrics by Marie Wexelsen. For me it is the pinnacle of Norwegian Christmas songs both because of it’s popularity and simplicity.
I remember very well as a young child in Seattle attending the Sons of Norway Sumnerslaget Christmas celebration. Hundreds of salty Norwegians would sing this song in chorus. What a beautiful sound that I quite took for granted.
Lyrics in English and Norwegian Posted Below
Jeg Er Sa Glad -Sheet Music.pdf
Jeg-er-sa-glad.mp3 – Melody Sample
This song is performed well by choirs from both St. Olaf and Pacific Lutheran University. You will find CD’s easily online if interested.
Imagine my utter shock to see these lyrics posted on a website under the general classification of “Scandinavian”. You should know that although us Norwegians are quiet, boring and stale – we are fiercely proud of our heritage. Do not count the Vikings out as they may emerge again for global domination. Norskes do not consider “Swedish” and “Danish” as a complete trilogy of our heritage as many assume. We are our own people – thick headed, muleish and the bravest of the brave.
You should also know that although Ballard, WA (largely Norwegian population) is a suburb of Seattle, very few Norskes will admit this fact. Norskes refer to Seattle as a suburb of Ballard.
Jeg Er Sa Glad is usually written in 3/4 or 6/8 time, but has a gentle lilt that suggests 6/8. Think of falling snow, gently swishing your skis down the slope side to side – and you will have the correct feel for this traditional Norwegian Christmas song.
Jeg er sÃ¥ glad hver julekveld,
for da ble Jesus fÃ¸dt,
da lyste stjernen som en sol,
og engler sang sÃ¥ sÃ¸tt.
Det lille barn i Betlehem,
han var en konge stor
som kom fra himlens hÃ¸ye slott
ned til vÃ¥r arme jord.
NÃ¥ bor han hÃ¸yt i himmerik,
han er Guds egen SÃ¸nn,
men husker alltis pÃ¥ de smÃ¥
og hÃ¸rer deres bÃ¸nn.
Jeg er sÃ¥ glad hver julekveld,
da synger vi hans pris:
da Ã¥pner han for alle smÃ¥
sitt sÃ¸te paradis.
Da tenner moder alle lys,
sÃ¥ ingen krok er mÃ¸rk;
hun sier stjernen lyste sÃ¥
i hele verdens Ã¸rk.
Hun sier at den lyser enn
og slukkes aldri ut,
og hvis den skinner pÃ¥ min vei,
da kommer jeg til Gud.
Jeg holder av vÃ¥r julekveld
og av den herre Krist
og at han elsker meg igjen,
det vet jeg ganske visst.
ENGLISH LYRICS TRANSLATION
1. I am so glad each Christmas Eve,
The night of Jesus’ birth!
Then like the sun the Star shone forth,1
And angels sang on earth.
2. The little Child in Bethlehem,
He was a King indeed!
For He came down from heaven above
To help a world in need.
3. He dwells again in heaven’s realm,
The Son of God today;
And still He loves His little ones
And hears them when they pray.
4. I am so glad on Christmas Eve!
His praises then I sing;
He opens then for every child
The palace of the King.2
5. When mother trims the Christmas tree
Which fills the room with light,
She tells me of the wondrous Star
That made the dark world bright.
6. She says the Star is shining still,
And never will grow dim;
And if it shines upon my way,
It leads me up to Him.
7. And so I love each Christmas Eve
And I love Jesus, too;
And that He loves me every day
I know so well is true.
Words: “Jeg Er Saa Glad Hver Julekveld,” Marie Wexelsen, 1859; translated from Norwegian to English by Peter Andrew Sveeggen (1881-1959). Wexelsen (1832-1911) published three children’s books, among them Ketil, en Julegave for De Smaa (“Ketil, a Christmas Gift for Little Ones”), where this Christmas carol introduced a longer story. At that time she entitled it “The Child’s Christmas Carol.”
Music: “Jeg Er Saa glad” (“Christmas Eve”), Peder Knudsen (1819-1863), 1859