Stanzas by John W. Work, 1871-1925

O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
Isaiah 40:9

For many people, this time of year is merely a rerun of the trivial and the sentimental, a push for retailers and the religious, for family and frivolity. For the devoted Christian, the celebration of Christ's birth is much more than a once a year celebration. It is a fresh awareness that a Deliverer was sent from the ivory palaces of Heaven to become personally involved in the redemption and affairs of the human race. The impact of this realization becomes a strong motivation to share the good news with needy and desperate people who need to know that there is an Emmanuel--God with us--available Who can meet their every need. Truly, ALL mankind must hear these glad tidings if they are to eternally benefit from them. With absolute clarity they must hear the message, "Behold your God!"

Negro spirituals had their roots in the late 18th and early 19th Century camp meetings throughout the South as well as in the active evangelistic ministry carried on among the black people during this time. However, few of their traditional songs were collected or published prior to 1840. The stanzas for "Go Tell it on the Mountain" were written by John W. Work, Jr. He and his brother, Frederick J. Work, were early leaders in arranging and promoting the cause of Negro spirituals. Today's song was first published in Folk Songs of the American Negro in 1907. These traditional spirituals have since become an important part of the American folk and sacred music heritage and are greatly appreciated and enjoyed by all of God's people.

While shepherds kept their watching
O'er silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a holy light.

The shepherds feared and trembled,
When lo! above the earth,
Rang out the angels chorus
That hailed the Savior’s birth.

Down in a lowly manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessèd Christmas morn.

Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born!

*For Today*: Isaiah 40:11 & 12; Luke 14:23; Romans 12:11; I Corinthians 15:58; Ephesians 2:10

Reflect on this: How have I grown spiritually throughout this Christmas season? What new insights have I gained regarding this timeless message? How can I share my faith in the living Christ more effectively in the days ahead?

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Based on Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions © Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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