Music and the Spoken Word

When Christmas Comes-Sunday, November 29, 2015

Part of what makes Christmastime so delightful are simple carols like this one, an old nursery rhyme set to a traditional melody:

Christmas is coming,
The geese are getting fat,
Please . . . put a penny
In the old man’s hat.
If you haven’t got a penny,
A ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny,
Then God bless you.

One of the surest signs that Christmas is coming—besides the whimsical songs about well-fed geese—is the almost magical change that seems to come in our outlook and attitude toward others. The advent of Christmas brings a largeness of heart that makes us think a little more about those in need. Something about this time of year brings out the best in us, convincing us to give what we can, whether it’s a penny or a ha’penny—or simply our prayers and goodwill.

Maybe it has something to do with that memorable declaration of the heavenly angels so long ago: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). Those words are fulfilled and renewed every year at Christmastime, as we open our hearts to others, remember more fully those we love, and look for opportunities to help those who may be a little less fortunate. When Christmas comes, we combine our faith and prayers with good works to shelter the needy, feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, and comfort the oppressed (see Matthew 25:34–36). In short, we give the best kind of gifts.

But really, they aren’t just Christmas gifts. It’s true that poverty and loneliness are felt most keenly during Christmastime, but they exist all year long. What if the advent of this season marked within us an advent of kindness and generosity in our hearts that we carried with us always? What if Christmas left us permanently changed—a little kinder, a little more generous for the rest of the year? Perhaps this year, the ideal of this glorious season could become real in our lives. Perhaps this time, when Christmas comes, it can come to stay.

-Lloyd D. Newell

Nov. 29, 2015
Broadcast Number 4,498

Mormon Tabernacle Choir
Orchestra at Temple Square

Mack Wilberg
Ryan Murphy

Andrew Unsworth

Lloyd Newell

Arise, Thy Light Has Come
David Danner

And the Glory of the Lord, from Messiah
George Frideric Handel

Sleepers, Wake, a Voice Is Calling, from Saint Paul
Felix Mendelssohn

Sleepers Wake, for Night Is Flying
Johann Sebastian Bach

Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming
German carol; Harmonization by Michael Preaetorius

Noe! Noe!
French carol; arr. Mack Wilberg

Christmas Is Coming
English carol; arr. Mack Wilberg