Wednesday, December 05, 2012
"O Little Town . . . "
Sunday mornings @ 9:00 a.m.
Peachtree Presbyterian Church
The Advent 2012 Series:
Dec. 2 – Bethlehem: A Place of Surprises (1 Sam 16:1-13)
Dec. 9 – Bethlehem: A Place of Hope (Micah 5:1-6 and Matt. 2:1-16)
Dec. 16 – Bethlehem: A Place of Suffering and Grief (Matt. 2:16-18)
Dec. 23 – Bethlehem: A Place of Worship (Luke 2:15-20)
The origin of this much loved Christmas hymn is not specific. The author of the text was the renowned preacher and pulpiteer Phillips Brooks (1835-93). Brooks made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1865, traveling in Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. Stories vary here, some saying that Brooks was inspired by Christmas Eve worship in the Church of the Nativity; others mention a ride by horseback to the Shepherds Field. Brooks records both events in writing – but never attributes the hymn directly to a specific moment. It was three years later that Brooks penned the words we sing today, very likely inspired by his memories of the 1865 pilgrimage. He wrote the words for the children’s choir of the Sunday school, entrusting the text to the church organist, Lewis H. Redner, for a suitable tune. Redner is reported to have struggled with the task until the last hours before Sunday worship. The hymn was first sung on December 27, 1868 and published in 1874.