Crosswalk.com aims to offer the most compelling biblically-based content to Christians on their walk with Jesus. Crosswalk.com is your online destination for all areas of Christian Living – faith, family, fun, and community. Each category is further divided into areas important to you and your Christian faith including Bible study, daily devotions, marriage, parenting, movie reviews, music, news, and more.

Jim Daly Christian Blog and Commentary

In Thy Dark Streets Shineth the Everlasting Light

  • Jim Daly
    Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family and host of its National Radio Hall of Fame-honored daily broadcast, heard by more than 2.9 million listeners a week on more than 1,000 radio stations across the U.S. He is husband to Jean and father to Trent and Troy. Jim's Focus on the Family Blog
  • 2012 Dec 18
  • Comments

As we find and pray our way through this school shooting in Connecticut, it’s helpful to hold tight to traditions and, yes, to remember the words of Philip Brooks:

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.

At the time he wrote those words, Bishop Brooks was the rector of the Church of the Holy Trinity in Philadelphia. He had visited Bethlehem during Christmas of 1865. Gazing upon the very hills that framed the birth of Jesus, the eloquent preacher was inspired. Here is how he described the scene:

After an early dinner, we took our horses and rode to Bethlehem. It was only about two hours when we came to the town, situated on an eastern ridge of a range of hills, surrounded by its terraced gardens. It is a good-looking town, better built than any other we have seen in Palestine. ... Before dark, we rode out of town to the field where they say the shepherds saw the star. It is a fenced piece of ground with a cave in it (all the Holy Places are caves here), in which, strangely enough, they put the shepherds. The story is absurd, but somewhere in those fields we rode through the shepherds must have been. ... As we passed, the shepherds were still keeping watch over their flocks or leading them home to fold.

Bishop Brooks pondered the experience for several years and in 1868 put his thoughts into what would eventually become a beloved carol of Christmas, O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Indeed, the streets of this broken world are dark but in our desperation we turn to the light – “the everlasting Light” and there we find healing and hope for the world.

Follow me on Twitter @Dalyfocus

Follow me on Facebook

Keep up with Focus on the Family on Facebook