Thursday, December 21, 2006

O Little Town of Bethlehem

My favorite Christmas song -- I have accented the verses I use in red. I like to sing the first three verses. The forth verse is lyrically weak in relation to the others and the fifth verse, while very good, in my mind detracts from the strongest lyrical point of the song, which is the end of the third verse.

Bruce Cockburn has the best recording of this song, on his "Bruce Cockburn Christmas".

The slight pause before and after the word "still" rings that "Bell In My Chest" every time.

And, there is still time. For now.

O Little Town of Bethlehem

Lyrics by Phillips Brooks, 1835-1893.
Music by Lewis Redner, 1830-1908. (The tune is named simply "St. Louis")

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 to-night.

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 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.

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,
And Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem!
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us to-day.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel

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