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Pastor Phillips Brooks was in the Holy Land in 1865 on Christmas Eve. He rode a horse the short distance from Jerusalem to Bethlehem. As he approached the place where Jesus was born he heard the choir singing. Brooks was inspired to write a poem expressing how he felt to stand near the place of Jesus’ birth on earth.
He entitled his poem, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” Later his church organist in Philadelphia would write the melody that turned the poem into a Christmas carol.
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