Sunday Singables: "O Sing a Song of Bethlehem"

Each Sunday of Advent I'll be featuring a different Christmas song we use in our worship. Hopefully, you'll be introduced to some new and engaging songs that will bring freshness to your personal and corporate worship. (12.2 - O Sing a Song of Bethlehem / 12.9 - Christ the Lord is Born Today / 12.16 - When He Comes / 12.23 - In the First Light)

"O Sing a Song of Bethlehem" text by Louis Benson, melody by Lucy Broadwood and Ralph Vaughan Williams

Alternative arrangement and lyrics- "How Suddenly a Baby Cries" by Keith and Kristyn Getty, released on Joy: An Irish Christmas, 2011


(this is the Getty's arrangement which gets pretty upbeat at about 1:40 into the song)

You can find this original hymn in most of the hymnals at church. It is number 167 in ours. I like both arrangements of this tune as each emphasize different elements.

Why I recommend this song for worship-

The hymn text of this song traces the life of Christ from the cradle through the cross. I really love songs that do that, like In Christ Alone, which don't just emphasize one element of Christ's work. This song also is an encouragement to worship as it calls each of us to "Sing a Song..." The melody is also very singable. We are introducing this song with the original words, yet with an upbeat arrangement like the Getty's put together in the clip above. Those words trace the life of Christ through the different people in the Christmas story, like Simeon and Anna. Again, this song points us to the entire ministry of Christ and the reason He ultimately came.

Changes I've made-

I've added a few more chords than normal on the lead sheet below. This can be greatly simplified, but I like the added notes as they give a folk flair to the song. The key is also a bit easier for the average person. The picture below is simple verses 1, 2, and 4 from the hymnal while the .pdf link will give you this version plus all five verses of the Getty's put to the same progression. I hope you enjoy this great Christmas song!


(just click, copy and paste this into a document to play and print)

--> Click here for the .pdf of both sets of lyrics and chords

You can find the Getty's version of this song on Amazon and iTunes.

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