'O Little Town of Bethlehem' Chords

Learn Christmas Songs on Guitar

bob dylan with guitar
Bob Dylan recorded "O Little Town of Bethlehem" in 2009. Michael Ochs Archives | Getty Images

Chords Used: D | Em | A7 | B7 | A | F# | Bm | G

O Little Town of Bethlehem

  D              Em
O little town of Bethlehem,
D      A7      D
How still we see thee lie;
D        B7        Em
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep
D      A        D
The silent stars go by.
D          Em          F#
Yet in the dark streets shineth
Bm  G      F#
The everlasting light;
D                Em
The hopes and fears of all the years
D      A      D
Are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary;
And gathered all above,
While mortals sleep the angels keep
Their watch of wond'ring love.
O morning stars together
Proclaim the holy birth;
And praises sing to God the King,
And peace to men on earth.
How silent, 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.

O Little Town of Bethlehem: Lyrics

Christmas Song Chords and Lyrics Archive

Performance Tips

This song is to be played nice and slow, four strums per bar. Each line above represents two bars of music, so you'll strum a total of eight times per line above. All strums should be played with a downstroke. The chords themselves may be tricky for novice guitarists, as there are several barre chords included. The good news is the strumming for the song is so slow, you'll have a lot of time to switch chords.

Popular Recordings

  • Jewel (listen on YouTube) - from her 1999 album Joy: A Holiday Collection
  • Bob Dylan (listen on YouTube) - from the 2009 album Christmas in the Heart
  • Tuck Andress (listen on YouTube) - from the 1991 album Hymns, Carols and Songs About Snow
  • Bruce Cockburn (listen on YouTube) - from his 1993 album Christmas

A History of 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'

The poem underlying the carol was written by a Philadelphia-based Episcopal priest Phillips Brooks based on his experience visiting Bethlehem in 1865.The organist of Brooks' church, Lewis Redner, added the music.