~* O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM *~
Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Luke 2:4

In the same way that God's "wondrous gift" came to Bethlehem, silently, so Christ comes into lives today and casts out our sin if we are willing to have Him abide in our lives through faith. Then "the dear Christ enters in." How beautifully the glorious message of the nativity is told in this well-phrased hymn by Phillips Brooks, one of America's most outstanding ministers of the 19th Century.

During a trip to the Holy Land in 1865, Brooks went to the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve and worshiped the Lord there. He was deeply moved by this experience. Three years later, while pastoring the Holy Trinity Church in Philadelphia, Brooks desired to have a special carol for the children to sing in their Sunday School Christmas program. Recalling the peaceful scene in the little town of Bethlehem, Brooks completed the writing of the text in just one evening. He gave a copy of the words to his organist, Lewis R. Redner, and requested him to compose a melody that would be easy for the children to sing. On the evening just before the program was to be given, Redner awakened suddenly from his sleep with the present melody in his mind--and he quickly wrote it out. "O Little Town of Bethlehem" has been a favorite with children and adults around the world since that time.



O little town of Bethlehem,
how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years
are met in thee tonight.

For Christ is born of Mary,
and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together,
proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
and peace to men on earth!

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous Gift is givín;
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of His Heavín.
No ear may hear His coming,
but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him
still, the dear Christ enters in.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels
the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
our Lord Emmanuel!



*For Today*: Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-12; Luke 2:1-7

In the midst of all the rush and activity of the Christmas season, take time to rejoice in the joy of Christ's birth, and ask Him to abide with you in a special way.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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