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Peace on Earth 9: O Little Town of Bethlehem

Peace on Earth Day 9 – 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 the dark street 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 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.

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 Immanuel!

–Phillips Brooks, 1868

The setting of Bethlehem that long ago night is portrayed as being still and silent. But there were moments of noise, for sure: the words “no room” spoken; the clomp of the donkey’s hooves tromping on the road and then the soft dirt; the cries of labor; the noise of animals shifting in that small space; the cries of the shepherds; the feet running to see the Christ child; the quiet murmurings as the new parents beheld their son. 

In Bethlehem there was peace, but it was likely anything but quiet. May this scene warm our hearts today as we appreciate the One who came for us. 

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