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Updated 06/04/2013


O Sing a Song of Betlehem

Louis F. Benson

Louis Fitzgerald Benson (1855-1930) penned the lyrics to “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem” in 1889.  Benson grad­u­at­ed from the Un­i­ver­si­ty of Penn­syl­van­ia law school, but prac­ticed law on­ly sev­en years. In 1877, he en­tered Prince­ton The­o­log­ic­al Sem­in­ary, where his fa­ther was a trust­ee. Up­on grad­u­a­tion, Louis was or­dained a min­is­ter and pas­tored at the Pres­by­ter­i­an Church of the Re­deem­er in Ger­man­town, Penn­syl­van­ia. He al­so be­came a lead­ing au­thor­i­ty in hymn­ol­o­gy; his lib­rary even­tu­al­ly grew to 9,000 vol­umes. In 1895, Benson helped edit The Hymn­al of the Pres­by­ter­i­an Church in the United States of Amer­i­ca.

he music is a traditional English melody arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams.  Vaughan Will­iams was one of the best known Eng­lish com­pos­ers of the 20th Cen­tu­ry.  He served as mu­sic­al ed­it­or for The Eng­lish Hymn­al in 1906.

Ralph Vaughn Williams

Lyrics by Louis Benson


O sing a song of Bethlehem, of shepherds watching there,
And of the news that came to them from angels in the air.
The light that shone on Bethlehem fills all the world today;
Of Jesus’ birth and peace on earth the angels sing away.


O sing a song of Nazareth, of sunny days of joy;
O sing of fragrant flowers’ breath, and of the sinless Boy.
For now the flowers of Nazareth in every heart may grow;
Now spreads the fame of His dear Name on all the winds that blow.

O sing a song of Galilee, of lake and woods and hill,
Of Him Who walked upon the sea and bade the waves be still.
For though like waves on Galilee, dark seas of trouble roll,
When faith has heard the Master’s Word, falls peace upon the soul.

O sing a song of Calvary, its glory and dismay,
Of Him Who hung upon the tree, and took our sins away.
For He Who died on Calvary is risen from the grave,
And Christ, our Lord, by Heaven adored, is mighty now to save.