How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
Phillips Brooks, 1867
(Had you ever just read the words to this old hymn? I did, today, after passing this snow-sprinkled, abandoned little cottage and stopping to snap its picture. It reminded me, somehow, of what I've always pictured when I heard the carol O Little Town of Bethlehem. Such a powerful, sweetly-worded carol, isn't it, and an apt prayer this Christmas advent.)