Philadelphia clergyman Phillips Brooks wrote the lyrics to this song in 1868, recalling a trip to the Holy Land three years earlier. His friend, church organist Lewis H. Redner, wrote the melody after he awoke Christmas Eve with "an angel strain" sounding in his head.
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 ever lasting 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 men on earth!