The Hopes and Fears

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

There is something so evocative for me about ‘O Little Town of Bethlehem’, in my church growing up its a carol synonymous with Midnight Communion, the air thick with candle smoke and fragrant with the pine needles desperate to make their own carpet in the church foyer.

And two of my favourite lines are the ones which end that first verse.

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.

It reminds me of the four hundred years of silence the people of God experienced before John the Baptist declared: ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’ (John 1:15b)

I wonder what it was like, for the Jews, with the words of Malachi ringing in their ears down the centuries for the words of John the Baptist to break the silence in such a revolutionary way.

The hopes and fears were met in Jesus because He came in a way no-one expected.

They expected a victorious King, reclaiming the throne from the Roman Empire, what they got was a baby born into obscurity.

Let’s pause and linger awhile to wait and meet with Jesus; advent is our privilege, to reexamine the ancient story glimpse something of the King who gave up His throne for our sakes.

Let allow our hopes and our fears to meet in Jesus tonight, and every night.

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3 thoughts on “The Hopes and Fears

  1. Rachel Warwick

    Love this Rach – looking forward to reading the rest.

    My favourite verse of O Little Town is the one that never seems to make it onto the church carol sheet.

    Where children pure and happy
    Pray to the blessed Child,
    Where misery cries out to Thee,
    Son of the Mother mild
    Where Charity stands watching
    And Faith holds wide the door,
    The dark night wakes, the glory breaks,
    And Christmas comes once more.

    Reply

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