Pastor Brooks was going on a trip. Israel was his destination and he was so-o-o excited.
On Christmas Eve, he went to Bethlehem on horseback, visiting the field where many say the shepherds watched their sheep.
Whether it really was or not, the visit was special to him for he knew that 2000 years ago the Christmas story had taken place in this little town.
He went to a Christmas Eve service in an ancient church that night, too.
He would always remember his trip to the land of Jesus birth. A few years later as he was planning the Christmas services at his own church, he started jotting down thoughts about Bethlehem and came up with a beautiful poem.
The more he thought about it, he decided that it would be better as a song. He wanted something new for the children to sing on Christmas morning.
Pastor Brooks talked to his friend Lewis, who was head of the Sunday School. He was also the organist, and the pastor said, “how about writing some music for my new song?”
Lewis tried and tried and tried. “I just can’t think of anything,” he told his friend.
But finally, on Christmas Eve, in the middle of the night, he woke up and the new tune came to him. He wrote the notes on a piece of paper and went back to sleep.
The next morning, in Sunday School, the children sang the new song for the first time.
The date that it all happened was 1868—and the song was O, Little Town of Bethlehem.
Based on the true story of the famous Christmas carol.
Research from Living Stories of Famous Hymns by Ernest Emurian and other sources.