O Little Town of Bethlehem - art post
Artist, Paul McGehee, portrays a moonlit view of the ancient city of
the birthplace of Jesus Christ. Even though McGehee is a contemporary artist
who is creating paintings right now (link
to FB), he pictures Bethlehem
as it appeared in the 19th century.
McGehee decided on a 19th century look for
opposed to a current image or one from the 1st century A.D.
(Although, Bethlehem in the 21st
century really doesn’t look all that tremendously different from the 1st
century.) McGehee pictures Bethlehem
in the 19th century because that was when Rev. Phillips Brooks, the
author of the hymn, “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” visited the city. In 1865,
Brooks went to the Holy Land and was especially
impressed by a Christmas Eve service at Bethlehem’s
Church of the Nativity, the traditional site of Jesus’ birth.
Three years later, Brooks was in need of a Christmas song for the children’s service at his Episcopal church in
Philadelphia. He wrote the song
himself. For inspiration, he thought back to his experience in the Holy
Land and wrote “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”
“O little town of
how still we see thee lie!” begin the lyrics. “Above thy deep and dreamless
sleep, the silent stars go by.” The beautiful song continues by painting a word
picture of peace and faith as seen through the eyes of one in the city of Bethlehem.
The song is sung to this day and has become one of the classic Christmas carols
of all time. “O Little Town of Bethlehem” is faithfully reproduced as an
archival-quality print from McGehee's original color pencil drawing.