Scripture Verse

Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall He come forth unto Me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2

Introduction

portrait
Gottfried W. Fink
1783–1846

Words: Hen­ry W. Frost, 1901, alt. Af­ter a vi­sit to Beth­le­hem, one bright day in spring. Pub­lished in Frost’s Pilg­rim Songs (New York: Gos­pel Pub­lish­ing House, 1908), pag­es 68–72.

Music: Beth­le­hem (Fink) Gott­fried W. Fink, 1842 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tunes:

portrait
Henry W. Frost
1858–1945

Lyrics

O Bethlehem, sweet Bethlehem,
To thee my song I sing;
To thee I raise my humble lay,
Thou city of the King.
Above thy courts the angels sang
Their brightest seraph song,
And, faintly echoing their refrain,
I would their praise prolong.

I see thy wide and wooded fields,
Thy rocky slopes and hills,
Thy valleys deep, where waters flow,
In sparkling, tuneful rills.
Thy balmy air is rich with scent,
Of olive and of vine,
Thy trees hang low with ripened fruit,
Thy vats o’erflow with wine.

Thy shepherd boys, like David, lead
Their flocks with winsome call,
Across thy uplands bright, and through
Deep vales where shadows fall.
Thy dusky men and ruddy maids
Are scattered ’cross the plain—
Where Ruth once followed Boaz’s men—
And harvest golden grain.

Thy mothers hush their babes to rest,
With hymns of David’s Lord,
Thy sing how in yon cave He came
To heav’nly love afford;
The scene is fair, and all is joy
About thy well kept walls;
Yea, sorrows never touch thy gates,
Thy hearthstones or thy halls.

Beyond is darksome Calvary
And sad Gethsemane;
But shadows flee, bright Bethlehem,
Whene’er they come to thee!
Lo, as I gaze, a vision breaks:
Behold, I see the Child
Lie once again in cave of stone,
All pure and undefiled.

The virgin mother bends above,
To watch the face divine,
From which, so fair and beautiful,
Bright rays of glory shine;
And oh, what longings fill my soul,
As I behold my Lord!
I fall and worship at His feet,
My every sin abhorred.

And here I pray to be like Him,
A holy infant child,
All meek and gentle, sweet and good,
All pure and undefiled!
And so to thee, O Bethlehem,
My song of love I sing;
All praise to thee, sweet Bethlehem,
Thou city of my king!