THE DAY AFTER Christmas, after the high, after a tragic accident, after a memorable event of any kind, what happens? I have found that the “day after” (which has now become connected with ideas of counter-balancing the effects of the day before for fear of an unwanted pregnancy), like the valley after the mountain top experience, often signals an emotional slump after an emotional high. Christmas Day is over but many want to play those tunes just one more time. Presents have been opened and there is no more element of surprise in the air. Trash needs to be dealt with. Just jumping into the next season after Advent seems a bit of a rush.
I opened my book Amazing Grace, 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions and found the hymn for today is “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”
Refrain: Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and ev’rywhere—go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!
- 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.
Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills and ev’rywhere—go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born!
Negro spirituals have inspired and comforted us since the 18th and 19th century when they originated in the camp meetings in the South. John W. Work and his brother Frederick J. Work promoted this song in the first published book Folk Songs of the American Negro in 1907 and it has become a beloved part of our sacred music and Christmas tradition. The Christmas story is a story that needs to be told, not just experienced as a moment of delight and then dealt with like the trash of Christmas. It is but a glimpse into a story that will unfold through out the liturgical year, amazing us, blessing us and guiding us. It’s O.K. to sit back, now that all the excitement has settled and savor the meaning –then, now, and for our future. God incarnated as a small, innocent, helpless baby to reveal itself, journey with us showing how God responds to life’s challenges, and ultimately walking through death to eternal life thus giving us hope to replace fear.
The hymn embraces Isaiah 40:9,
“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!’”
May the blessings continue for you on the “day after” Christmas!