After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
O Little Town of Bethlehem was written by Phillips Brooks. He also wrote two books – one called The Joy of Preaching and another called The Consolations of God.
Brooks actually took a trip to Bethlehem and walked around trying to imagine what that night must have been like. He didn’t write the carol in Bethlehem; in fact, he waited three years and was back in the United States when he began writing the song. He must have really given the details a lot of thought.
He records in his diary,
“Before dark we rode out of town to the field where the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it, in which, strangely enough, they put the shepherds. Somewhere in those fields we rode through, the shepherds must have been, as we passed, still keeping watch over their flocks. I was standing in the old church in Bethlehem, close to the spot where Jesus was born, and the whole church was ringing hour after hour with the splendid hymns of praise to God; how again and again it seemed as if I could hear voices I know well, telling each other of the Savior’s birth.”
And so the carol O Little Town of Bethlehem was written.
The best news is that Christ was born for everyone! He came to earth for all – !
I love this poem from Lucinda’s devotional book Coffee with Jesus. I’m so glad that Jesus loves everyone regardless of any label you may want to mention. He doesn’t see the labels, He just sees each soul individually. 🙂