Written by Frances Alice Chesterton, wife of G. K. Chesterton, How far is it to Bethlehem? this carol expresses the profound longing we feel to experience firsthand the miracle of the Christmas story, not just as thinking adults, but with the wonder of children. The childlike question “How far is it to Bethlehem?” and the simple response “Not very far” begin this gentle carol. The lyrics go on to reveal the “little smiles and tears” that children bring as their gifts, as well as their inherent trust, as they fall asleep. This arrangement by David Willcocks is for SSA, and the instrumental accompaniment is the same voicing in groups of woodwinds and trumpets.
This arrangement represents one in the Series of Band Arrangements compatible with David Willcocks’ Carols for Choirs.