O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM

Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. (Luke 2:4)

In the same way that God’s “wondrous gift” came to Bethlehem, silently, so Christ comes into our lives today and casts out our sins and fears if we are willing to have Him abide in our lives. Then “the dear Christ enters in.” How beautifully the glorious message of Christmas is told in this well-phrased hymn by Phillips Brooks, one of America’s most outstanding ministers of the past century.

During a hip to the Holy Land in 1865, Brooks went to the Church of the

Nativity in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve and worshiped 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.

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.

St. Louis tune                                                                                                               Lewis H. Redner, 1831-1908