My favorite Christmas Carol has always been O Little Town of Bethlehem but did you know the origin of the tune? The lyrics of the song were written by Phillips Brooks, a priest and rector of the Church of Holy Trinity in Philadelphia. He visited the village of Bethlehem in 1865. Three years later his visit inspired him to write the lyrics in the form of a poem and his organist, Lewis Redner added the famous tune. Redner’s tune is titled St. Louis, and is the arrangement most often associated with the song in the United States. However, a tune titled Forest Green, is often used in England. This tune was composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1903.
Whichever tune is most common to you and your family the significance of the lyrics ring true and help me to remember the real reason for the holiday.
The “St. Louis” version
The “Forrest Green” version