Riu Riu Chiu

The wolf and the lamb (La Fontaine)

Riu Riu Chiu is a 16th century Spanish Christmas carol I have enjoyed over the years. Its syncopated, dance-feel gets hands and feet tapping!

Recently, I was reading the lyrics, and was struck afresh by their power. Protestant readers will have to overlook the Marian theology in the first two verses, but I think any beliver will be blessed by the way Jesus is magnified.


Riu, riu, chiu
the river bank protects it
God kept our ewe lamb
from the wolf
God kept our ewe lamb
from the wolf. 


The rabid wolf 
wanted to bite her
But Almighty God knew 
how to defend her
He decided to make Her 
impervious to sin
Even original sin 
this Virgin did not have. 

Riu, riu, chiu…. 

This One who is born
is the Great Monarch
The Patriarch Christ 
Clothed in human flesh
He has redeemed us
by making Himself small
Although He is infinite
He made Himself finite. 

Riu, riu, chiu … 

He comes to give life 
to those who were dead
And to repair 
the fall of all
This Child is the light
of the day
He is the Lamb of whom 
St. John the Baptist spoke. 

Riu, riu, chiu … 

I saw thousands of Angels
that were singing
Flying around,
making much music
Telling the shepherds, 
Glory in the Heavens
and Peace on earth 
for Jesus is born. 

Riu, riu, chiu … 

Now we have 
what we desired
Let us go together
to present Him gifts
Let each give 
his will to Him
Because He became 
equal to us.

Riu, riu, chiu …

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Dennis M Patrick says:

    Right on, Teague. First time I have seen the words although I have your fine recording on CD. Blessings!

    1. mrteague says:

      Yes, words & music are both great. Merry Christmas!

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