GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN
Stanzas by John W. Work, 1871–1925
You who bring good tidings to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good tidings to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!” (Isaiah 40:9)
For many people, another Christmas season is merely a rerun of the trivial and the sentimental. But for the devoted Christian, Christmas 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 available who can meet their every need. Men everywhere must hear these glad tidings if they are to benefit from them. With absolute clarity they must hear the message, “Here is 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 evangelical ministry carried on among the black people during this time. However, few of their traditional songs were collected or published prior to about 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 angel chorus that hailed our Savior’s birth.
Down in a lowly manger the humble Christ was born, and God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn.
Refrain: Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and ev’rywhere—go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!
For Today: Isaiah 42:11, 12; Luke 14:23; Romans 12:11; 1 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 message? How can I share my faith in the living Christ more effectively in the days ahead? Use this musical reminder to help—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the towns that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rocks sing: let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands. (Isaiah 42:11-12)
- Then the master said to the servant, Go out into the highways, and hedges, and compel them to come in, that mine house may be filled. (Luke 14:23)
- Not slothful to do service, fervent in spirit serving the Lord. (Romans 12:11)
- Therefore my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, abundant always in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 15:58)
- And are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone, (Ephesians 2:10)