B is for Bethlehem, and Balthazar
Bethlehem, where it all began.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David…He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
–Luke 2: 4-7
Balthazar…was, according to tradition one of the biblical Magi along with Caspar and Melchior who visited the infant Jesus after he was born. Balthazar is traditionally referred to as the King of Arabia and gave the gift of myrrh to Jesus.
No Advent or Christmas season would be complete without the choir of Kings College Cambridge. Listen to them singing the hauntingly beautiful Bethlehem Down. A fitting tribute to their past music director, the late Sir Stephen Cleobury, who died recently.
There’s quite a story behind the writing of Peter Warlock’s classic carol. If Youtube comments are to believed, he and a friend wrote it in order to fund a pub crawl!