A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Saturday, December 24, 2011

In Thy Dark Streets

Of course, with my blogging theme this year, these lyrics from "O Little Town of Bethlehem" stood out to me:

Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The Everlasting Light
The hopes and fears of all the years
Are met in thee tonight

In what is probably an understatement of the effort required, Luke 2:6-7 records Mary's contribution to this everlasting Light:  "And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."

On a young woman rested these "hopes and fears of all the world."  Eve, a woman, had been the first to partake of the forbidden fruit and bring sin and death into the world.  By doing so, she also gave all of us a chance to come here.  Mary, also a woman and descendant of Eve, had brought forth the everlasting Light that would shine in dark places and redeem us from the effects of that Fall.  Thank you Eve, Thank you, Mary.  I don't know if "silently, silently" is how this "wondrous gift" was given, but I am grateful for it nonetheless.

Full Lyrics (only the first three verses are in our hymbook, but I like the rest):

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 to-night.

O morning stars, together
Proclaim the holy birth!
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.
For Christ is born of Mary
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep the Angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.

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.

Where children pure and happy
Pray to the blessed Child,
Where misery cries out to Thee,
Son of the Mother mild;
Where Charity stands watching
And Faith holds wide the door,
The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
And Christmas comes once more.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray!
Cast out our sin and enter in,
Be born in us to-day.
We hear the Christmas angels,
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel!

1 comment:

  1. We had a great version of this in our ward Christmas program in Charlottesville. At the end they had a coda remixing the third verse, ending with a simple "Where Charity stands watching
    And Christmas comes once more." :) Lovely stuff!