O little town of Bethlehem

Today’s carol is an enchanting and stunningly beautiful version of O Little Town of Bethlehem, sung by Sarah McLachlan.

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

Bethlehem. The small, unassuming town that became the birthplace of Jesus Christ. In the dark streets, who knows what was going on – yet in those same dark streets shone the everlasting light.

I’m reminded in that of the many agencies that do work in our own dark streets in our own cities, often without our knowing. Those working with the homeless, the poor, the broken, the helpless. The everlasting light continues to shine through them into those dark streets.

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.

How silently the wondrous gift is given! I’m sure the people of the time expected the birth of the Messiah to be some incredible scene that would be known far and wide. Yet we often hear in the bible that God is in the quiet spaces. Here again, God comes to earth in a quiet space, in a small town, born in a stable, to a young unassuming mother and a carpenter, where the only people who come to visit him are the Wise men, who followed a star, and the shepherds, told by an angel out in the fields. Not exactly the sort of reception one might expect, yet this is how he comes.

Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in. How often do we still expect the big and the “magical” from God? We expect miraculous signs, to prove our faith. But here we read that Christ enters into the meek souls. The mild. The quiet.

In this busy time of year, find some stillness, and let Christ enter into your life.

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