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O Little Town of Bethlehem was first written for and performed for an ordinary Sunday School class by Phillips Brooks in 1868 following his visit to Bethelem in 1866.
On the 3rd Sunday of Advent, we light the Gaudete (“Rejoice”) candle of JOY. This is traditionally the rose-colored candle in an Advent wreath. Did you know that Gaudete Sunday has also been known as Rose Sunday?
While we spent the first two weeks of Advent focused on Christ’s coming, the third week is one of joy and rejoicing in anticipation of Christ’s coming again.
We also, as a Western church, tend to focus on John the Baptist’s connection with Advent.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13
For a refresher course on what Advent is, check out my advent playlist!
Suggested Reading: Advent Playlist: 25 Christmas Hymns
Advent Playlist – 25 Christmas Hymns
1. A Strange Way to Save the World
2. Angel Gabriel
3. Angels From the Realms of Glory
4. Christ is the World’s True Light
5. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus
6. The Crown of Roses
7. E’en So Lord Jesus Quickly Come
8. Gesu Bambino
9. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
10 – I Wonder as I Wander
11 – Jesus Christ The Apple Tree
12. The King Shall Come
13. Carol of the Drum (Little Drummer Boy)
14. Mary, Did You Know?
15. O Come All Ye Faithful
16. O Come O Come Emmanuel
17. O Holy Night
Day 18. O Little Town of Bethlehem
O Little Town of Bethlehem was first written for and performed for an ordinary Sunday School class by Phillips Brooks in 1868 following his Christmas Eve visit to Bethlehem in 1866 following the American Civil War.
Brooks himself would go on later to become the Bishop of Massachusetts in 1891.
Much in keeping with the theme of Advent – the futuristic anticipation of Christ’s 2nd Coming – the final verse of Brooks’ hymn is a quiet prayer of the Believers that Christ would come and abide in us.
O Little Town of Bethlehem Lyrics –
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 wond’ring love.
O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to all 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.
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 Immanuel!
Scripture Reading for Day 18 of Advent –
When the morning stars sang together
and all the heavenly beings shouted for joy?
“Or who shut in the sea with doors
when it burst out from the womb?—
when I made the clouds its garment,
and thick darkness its swaddling band,
and prescribed bounds for it,
and set bars and doors,
and said, ‘Thus far shall you come, and no farther,
and here shall your proud waves be stopped’?
I pray that, according to the riches of his glory, he may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Advent Playlist – Days 19 to 25
19. Once in Royal David’s City
20. People, Look East
21. Silent Night
22. Sweet Little Jesus Boy
23. There Stood in Heaven a Linden Tree
24. Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day
25. Whence is That Goodly Fragrance Flowing?
Continue the Conversation
What is your favorite Christmas Hymn or way to celebrate Advent?