The Acoustic Music Archive

O Little Town of Bethlehem - Chords, Lyrics and Origins


The lyrics of 'O Little Town of Bethlehem' are from a poem written in 1868 by a Philadelphian priest, Phillip Brooks.  The tune that I have used is from an English Folk Ballad, although in the United States the hymn is often sung to a different melody, called 'St. Louis'.


Capo at 2nd Fret

A7   D                 A     D         A

O     little town of     Bethlehem,

D      G            A7          D
How still we see thee lie.

A7   D                        A     D                A
A----bove thy deep and dreamless sleep

D     G        A7          D
The silent stars go by.

       F#          A7                 D  A

Yet in thy     dark streets shineth

        D     G          A          
The everlasting Light:

A7   D                          A    D         A
The hopes and fears of   all the years

D    G          A7        D
Are met in thee tonight.


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.

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

How silently, how silently
The wondrous gift is given,
So God imparts to human hearts
The blessings of His heaven.
No ear may his His coming,
But in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive him still,
The dear Christ enters in.

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