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O West Bank Town of Bethlehem December 9, 2011

Posted by Phil Groom in Advent and Christmas.
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THANK YOU to Kevin Mayhew Ltd for publishing the full text of Martin Leckebusch’s version of the popular Christmas Carol, O Little Town of Bethlehem — offered, they say, “as a more realistic description of Bethlehem today” than the traditional words. I couldn’t agree more:

O West Bank town of Bethlehem,
how still thy victims lie;
the grieving weep, deprived of sleep;
militiamen roam by;
for through thy dark streets rageth
the never-ending fight:
such hopes and fears, such bitter tears
are met in thee tonight.

O morning news, O papers,
report the dreadful dearth
of saints who sing to praise the King,
of peace across the earth;
where Christ was born of Mary
‘midst wondering angels’ love,
in anguish deep, sad mortals keep
few thoughts of things above.

How violently, how violently
the hope of peace is riven;
can God imparts to these torn hearts
the blessings of his heaven?
Who now recalls his coming
to this dark world of sin?
Where harsh words still promote ill-will,
can Christ now enter in?

O Child once born in Bethlehem,
draw near again, we pray;
you died to win this world from sin –
yet sin persists today.
May we, like Christmas angels,
annouce Immanuel,
till all are given a glimpse of heaven
and not a taste of hell.

– Martin Leckebusch
Copyright 2010 Kevin Mayhew Ltd

Reproduced, complete with typos, in accordance with Kevin Mayhew Ltd’s fair use copyright policy.

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