Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Sing Christmas Dec 3

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.

O morning stars, together
proclaim the holy birth!
and praises sing to God the King,
and peace to men on earth.
For Christ is born of Mary;
and gathered all above,
while mortals sleep, the angels keep
their watch of wondering love.

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 Emmanuel! 

 Philip Brooks (1835-1893

This is surely one of the most popular of all Christmas carols. It is a tender evocation of the town (in reality no more than a village) of Bethlehem, in the middle of an apparently ordinary night, unaware that something world changing is happening in it -“the hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.”

Bethlehem had found itself centre-stage unexpectedly once before. It was the birthplace of the child who would become the great King David. He was just a shepherd boy when he was anointed by Samuel, the youngest and smallest of the family, almost overlooked, living in an insignificant backwater. Bethlehem was not grand or wealthy – an unlikely place for a King - or a Messiah - to be born, but this is where it happens, when no one is looking - “while mortals sleep”.
The carol encourages us to see ourselves too as the birthplace of Jesus, however unlikely that might feel. We are the place in which God chooses to come into the world. “Be born in us today” says the carol.

·         Have you ever lived anywhere where something significant once happened? What would you feel if you discovered that someone important had been born next door to  you?
·         How easy do you find it to think of the words “be born in us today” as applying to you?

Bible Reading: The Word became flesh, and lived among us. John 1.14

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