STLT#232, The Hills Are Bare at Bethlehem

I hardly have words this morning – this carol is simply beautiful.

Set to the tune Prospect, one of my very favorites from Southern Harmony, these lyrics by Royce Scherf are melancholy and holy and full of whatever it is that hearts are full of in that moment of exhaustion when something like a miracle happens.

The hills are bare at Bethlehem, no future for the world they show;
yet here new life begins to grow, from earth’s old dust a greenwood stem.

The stars are cold at Bethlehem, no warmth for those beneath the sky;
yet here the radiant angels fly, and joy burns new, a fi’ry gem.

The heart is tired at Bethlehem, no human dream unbroken stands;
yet here God comes to mortal hands, and hope renewed cries out: “Amen!”

In my creative imaginings, I would put this in a contemplative section with “I Wonder as I Wander” and Britten’s “Wealden Trio” and dwell in the earthy holiness of the moment.

I don’t have much more to say… words are failing me in witness to this song. Maybe the song is enough.

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