Christmas Songs

By: Gail Cohen & Gilbert DeBenedetti

'O Little Town of Bethlehem'

©2006 Publications International, Ltd.

When Phillips Brooks, a well-known Philadelphia minister, traveled to the Holy Land in 1865, the experience so moved him that he returned home with new resolve to bring the story of Jesus' birth to his congregants. With memories of his trip "still singing in his soul," Brooks wrote the words his heart felt as he walked the streets of Bethlehem.

He then turned to Sunday school teacher and part-time organist Lewis H. Redner to aid in the song's completion. This delicate hymn was premiered by the church's children's choir to a thrilled congregation in 1868.


"O Little Town of Bethlehem" Lyrics

1. 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 street shineth

The everlasting light

The hope and fears of all the years

Are met in thee tonight.

2. 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.

3. How silently, how silently,

The wondrous gift is given!

So God imparts to human hearts

The blessings of His heaven.

No ear may hear His coming,

But in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive Him, still

The dear Christ enters in.

Christmas sheet music: "O Little Town of Bethlehem"

"Silent Night" is among the most beloved Christmas carols. But did you know it was hurriedly written at the last minute for a Bavarian village's Christmas Eve celebration? Learn more about "Silent Night" on the next page.