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Hymn Author

Phillips Brooks


TUNE: St. Louis

O little town of Bethlehem

Brooks wrote this carol following a visit to Bethlehem, being inspired by the view of the town from the hills of Palestine at night.


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 giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts
Tthe blessings of His Heav’n.
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!


Below is the original third verse, it was never published but is included here for interest’s sake.

Where children pure and happy
Pray to the blessed Child
Where misery cries out to Thee
Son of the Mother mild
Where Charity stands watching
And Faith holds wide the door
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks
The Christmas comes once more