Rector Phillips Brooks (1835-1903) of Philadelphia, wrote the words to O Little Town of Bethlehem in 1868, following a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. He was inspired by the view of Bethlehem from the hills of Palestine especially at night time hence the lyrics of O Little Town of Bethlehem. His church organist Lewis Redner (1831-1908) wrote the melody for the Sunday school children's choir.
Living in a time of unparalleled housing foreclosures, massive job layoffs, the unemployment rate possibly rising to a ten percent norm, Amazon .Com being caught selling a how-to guide for pedophiles, and North and South Korea on the brink of war, I’ve found great comfort and meaning regarding my own hopes and fears in the song O Little Town of Bethlehem.
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
Reflecting on the greed and debauchery that is so pervasive in our society today, I’m encouraged by the fact that God came to earth as a babe in order to redeem this fallen world from itself. And He came not only to redeem, but to be with us.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray. Cast out our sin and enter in, be born to us today We hear the Christmas angels, the great glad tidings tell; O come to us, abide with us, Our Lord Emmanuel
May you also find fresh courage and connection with the one who came as a babe to an obscure town in order to cast out our sin, enter in, and be with us.
May your celebration of the incarnation be blessed.