Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Author Behind 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'

Phillips Brooks
Phillips Brooks, an American rector at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia, visited the Holy Land in 1865. He did all the usual schlocky tourist things: bought a tee-shirt that said 'I was Here' with an X in the middle of Israel, purchased one of those stupid tiny silver spoons to hang on a rack, and yes, wrote, stamped, and mailed at least twenty-five postcards.

None of that will be remembered, though. What was immortalized by his visit was a simple horseback ride from Jerusalem to Bethlehem on Christmas Eve. He wrote about that experience three years later, the words of which are found in a song he put together for his church's children's choir. He never expected anything to come of it, other than music for that particular service. But in 1874, the song was published in Huntington's Sunday School hymn book, The Church Porch.

And the rest really is history.


chappydebbie said...

I love these. Had no idea about that touristy stuff happening in 1865, though. ;-)

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