One of my favorite Christmas traditions is singing the many Christmas Carols. As part of a Carol group, I sung these tunes countless times in my youth, and now they remain fixed in my memory and etched on my heart. When I’m decorating my house for Christmas, or baking up Christmas goodies, those songs seem to spill out of my mouth without warning, much to the amusement of my family members. One of those songs spilling out today is Go Tell it on the Mountain.
In 1865, choral director, educationalist and songwriter, John Wesley Work Jr. wrote the lyrics to Go Tell it on the Mountain, and over the years it has been sung and recorded by many gospel and secular performers. The reason I love this particular carol is because the chorus not only celebrates the Nativity of Jesus, but it also instructs us to go, and tell others the amazing news that Jesus Christ is born.
Singing this song made me wonder, am I doing what the song instructs? Am I ‘telling it on the mountain’ this amazing news that not only is Jesus Christ is born, but that He is alive and active in you and me? Do I tell others the story of how my life is forever changed because I follow Him as my Lord?
In his letter to the Corinthians, the Apostle Paul encourages his fellow believers that it is both their burden and their opportunity to tell others about who Jesus is and what He has done for them—how His work on the cross has made them new people.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-20
We, as followers of Christ, are keepers of the story of how Jesus Christ was born. We have His story fixed in our memories and etched upon our hearts. And as such, the story of how He lived, how He sacrificed His life for our sins, and how that sacrifice reconciled us back to God, is a story that needs to be told. We are ambassadors of His story, and God is making an appeal through you and me.
I admit, sometimes I hum my carols to myself, I keep the joy I feel contained within the four walls of my house or the closed up windows of my car. I praise God with my songs, but I have a feeling He wants that joy I feel to spill out, maybe even overflow. He wants me to Go, and tell it on the mountain. He wants others to hear the good news of this season too. The good news of Christmas is not just the yummy treats, the beautiful decorations and the lefse (a God-ordained delicacy for sure). The good news of Christmas is the story of His birth, of His work on this earth, and of His deep love for us all.
So read these lyrics and sing them out loud if you wish. Take time this Christmas season to tell people why this holiday is so important to you—how being a follower of Christ makes a difference in your life, and how they can experience a new life of their own by placing their trust in Him. Merry Christmas my friends!
“Go tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
Jesus Christ is born
Down the lonely manger
The humble Christ was born
And God sent salvation
That blessed Christmas morn
While shepherds kept their watch
O’er silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shown a holy light.”