It is the Christmas season, and as the morning dawns may we join together in offering up praise to our God for the wonderful work of salvation He has carried out in and through His one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. What a marvelous, wonderful thought, that He who has made all things, who is very God, would consider us and our sinful state, and stoop to take on flesh that He might give His life a ransom for many. Such an act of love should be shouted from the mountain tops!
- “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, and says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’ . . . The LORD has bared His holy arm in the sight of all the nations, that all the ends of the earth may see the salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:7, 10 – NASB)
Yes! “How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news.” Who “brings good news” that, in Bethlehem, on that first Christmas, the Christ was born of the virgin, named Jesus, a name meaning “Yaweh is salvation.” Such a name “announces peace . . . . brings good news of happiness,” and most importantly, “announces salvation.”
The plight of the black man in the days when slavery was so prevalent in this country was not a good one. Many suffered greatly, and were put by their fellow man in a state where hope would seem to be only a word, not a reality. But from these times of emotional and physical torment came music, came what we have come to know as spirituals. From those who were denied even a proper education, who probably couldn’t read or write, came songs of hope.
One of these great songs “was born from the inspiration of a slave’s Christmas.” It is noteworthy that the unknown author, a person humbled down by his very state of existence, sang his song of lowly shepherds. With little hope this side of heaven, a song came forth of a hope to come, a much better place made possible by the coming of Jesus the Christ . . . and that was something that one needed to “Go Tell It On The Mountain.”
- “Go tell it on the mountain,
- Over the hills and ev’rywhere;
- Go tell it on the mountain,
- That Jesus Christ is born.”
In my limited research I found different stanzas to this old spiritual. What I am giving you here are stanzas said to have been put together by John W. Work II (1872 – 1925). We owe the preservation and maintaining of this great song to a family of men; John Work, John Work II, and John Work III. Because of their efforts we have this wonderful Christmas spiritual today.
- “While shepherds kept their watching
- O’er silent flocks by night,
- Behold throughout the heavens
- There shone a holy light!”
In the 1880’s, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a group of black Americans, who were able to travel far beyond their home base, carried “Go Tell It On The Mountain” to the world. This great Christmas song of hope, born out of trying times, touched on the importance of shouting out “That Jesus Christ is born.”
- “The shepherds feared and trembled
- When, lo! above the earth
- Rang out the angel chorus
- That hailed our Savior’s birth.”
This great Christmas spiritual has become a traditional song, sung in churches internationally, at this time every year. I would note that in its joyful proclamation it begs us to stop and ponder the richness of it, the quality of its message, all coming from a time of woe, a time of trouble. I ask myself, “Would such a song spring from my heart if I were to live in such difficult conditions?”
- “Down in a lowly manger
- The humble Christ was born,
- And brought us God’s salvation
- That blessed Christmas morn.”
Wow! From the heart of a slave, an uneducated person, who had obviously heard the Christmas message, came words of praise and glory lifted up in song, song that proclaimed “the humble Christ was born” and such, “brought us God’s salvation that blessed Christmas morn.”
Have a good day brethren . . . and as you walk take time in this season to ponder the Christmas message and may it cause you to desire to “Go Tell It On The Mountain!”
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