Songs & Hymns

O Little Town of Bethlehem

This traditional Christmas carol is about Christ's birth in Bethlehem. It is a little unusual in its use of images of silence, stillness and light. The tune is very famous, it is an adaptation of an English folk tune by Ralph Vaughan-Williams - the folk song is called 'The Ploughboy's Dream'.

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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 all the earth;
For Christ is born of Mary;
And, gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wond'ring 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.

Music © Oxford University Press, Great Clarendon Street, Oxford OX2 6DP.  From The English Hymnal, used by permission. Last verse music arrangement and descant © The Royal School of Church Music, 19 The Close, Salisbury SP1 2EB This song may be photocopied under the terms of the CCLE Music Reproduction Licence. CCLI Song No. 2684639. Please include all items copied in your annual report, quoting 'Worship Workshop'.

Music produced and mixed by Nic Rowley at Vandborg Studios. Backing tracks arranged, performed and recorded by Nic Rowley, Jane Carr, James Welch and Katie Chatburn.  Recording engineer James Welch at Masterlink Productions. Organist Gillian Lloyd. Recorded on the organ of Guildford United Reformed Church by kind permission of the Elders.

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