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  • Allen Schellenberg

O Little Town Of Bethlehem

It is dark … the sun had slipped below the western horizon a long time ago. It is night … all is quiet and still. The stars twinkle cheerily in the night sky … shining more brilliant than they had ever shone before. A few tranquil clouds now and then glide across the silvery moon, and for a moment appear to be lost in its misty form. Then, silently … the misty cloud drifts on, and again the soft moonlight joins the merry twinkle of the billions of stars that gleam across the night sky. It’s chilly tonight. The warmth of a sheepskin frock keeps the night chill away.



O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.

The citizens of Bethlehem have already gone to bed, already sleeping soundly. The narrow streets are empty, no passersby … it’s quiet and still. The gleam from the heavenly starlight, the pale glow of the moon displays the silvery silhouettes across the many rooftops and images that line the narrow streets. The busy bustle of the day, the madness … now is hushed … and all is still … sleeping. Only the Innkeeper, tired and weary, is awake still. And yet, he hurries about trying to tidy-up last minute things and prepare for his own night’s rest. Startled by a loud knock on the door he hurries to the door, “Who could be here at this hour?” he mutters wearily. He sees two exhausted pilgrims seeking refuge; it was quite obvious that they urgently needed to find a place of shelter. They must have endured a long journey. “Oh, I’m so sorry,” he said. “I don’t have any more rooms … every room is filled. Perhaps ... the stable ... it’s the only place I have,” he uttered abashed.


O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.

They found a lowly stable, not far, a stable that was meant for cattle. The animals, unaware of company coming, stood silently munching on hay. Yet the sweet fragrance of fresh hay and straw seemed veiled in mystery, as if waiting expectantly.


Two weary travelers stooped low to enter. At last they had found shelter. Even a stable seemed warm and inviting after a long day of travel. “Ah, here we can rest for the night,” brought a sigh, and a smile from the travelers.


But wait! The travelers feel warm and welcomed somehow ... here they felt a silent calm. “This is a place for cattle,” said the weary traveler, “This is their place of shelter from the cold and danger. But how can this place feel so refreshing … so warm and inviting?”


O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.

In spite of the day’s chaos and commotion, the tiny town in Judea was sleeping. Unaware of the most wonderful gift that was to come from Heaven this very night. There were no jubilant crowds waiting expectantly to welcome the King of Kings. No … it is quiet and still. The promised Holy Child would be born tonight ... among cattle ... in a crude stable ... laid to rest in a manger bed, in the stable down at the end of the street. How silently, how silently the wondrous gift was given, just as had been prophesied so many years ago. It all happened in a humble stable, among cattle, and yet, Bethlehem was sleeping.


O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.

The promised Messiah of amazing circumstances, a precious gift from Heaven, would be born tonight ... the promise of the angels that had appeared in the fields of Judea. He would bear the most amazing and wonderful name of Jesus, Redeemer, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, and Lord of Lords ... deserving of highest honor, worship, and praise. Just imagine ... he chose to be born in Bethlehem, in a humble stable, among cattle. O Holy Night! O what wonder! He came to a world so full of sin and hate.


O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.

But wait. Why did the Son of God come? Here is why: He came because His love was so enormous, so vast, way beyond what can be humanly measured. He came to bring peace ... peace to those who will seek Him still ... those who will give their hearts ... their love to him.


O come, O come Emmanuel. O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie.
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