THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
Tales from the old-timer
Bedlam Out of Bethlehem? You Kidding?
But its true, and now is the time to talk about it. The place name Bethlehem gives a sentimental reverence for the name of the birthplace of the Christ Child, whose birthday has been celebrated for hundreds of years on Dec. 25. It carries the sentimental meanings of a place of wonderment, a starry sky, and a lovely, peaceful night of blessedness. But why is the word Bedlam, which gives a sense of noisy, clamoring mobs somehow connected? Well, the Old-Timer looked it up in his Encyclopedia Britannica. It was named the Bethlehem Royal Hospital when it was built in London, England about the year 1330, part of its name intended to convey a feeling of reverence, caring, and faith, after the village of Bethlehem in ancient Judah, in Central Palestine, where tradition tells us the Christ Child was born. It was built as a hospital for the insane, and a place of peace and blessed tranquility. It soon got a reputation, however, for brutal ill-treatment of its patients, and for noisy, screeching and howling. With the deterioration of the hospital into a noisy, fearful Bedlam, so its name became the opposite of the sweet, peaceful, and blessed place we are familiar with in the hymn:
O Little Town of Bethlehem
O little Town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie,
Above thy deep and dreamless streets,
The silent stars go by. Yet in thy dark streets shineth
The everlasting light. The hopes and fears of all the
Are met in Thee tonight. For Christ is born of Mary
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