Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you shall come for Me One who will be Ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.@Micah 5:2
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Phillips Brooks (1835-1893)

Phillips Brooks, 1867. Brooks wrote about his horseback journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, where he assisted with the midnight service on Christmas Eve, 1865.

I remember standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, when the whole church was ringing hour after hour with splendid hymns of praise to God, how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I knew well, telling each other of the Wonderful Night of the Savior’s birth.

St. Louis Lewis H. Redner, 1868 (🔊 pdf nwc). Redner was Brooks’ organist at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The tune came to him on Christmas Eve, and was first sung the next day.

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Lewis H. Redner (1831-1908)

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.

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 giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His Heav’n.
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 blessèd 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 today.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

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Bethlehem, Church of the Nativity, 1886