Go Tell It!

A very brief snippet of a James Taylor performance of “Go Tell It On the Mountain”


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

When I was a seeker
I sought both night and day,
I asked the Lord to help me,
And he showed me the way.

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

He made me a watchman
Upon a city wall,
And if I am a Christian,
I am the least of all.

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

Continue reading “Go Tell It!”

Christmas “Chili”

Since there is no “chili” spice in this (aged anaheim chilis–the base of standard chili recipes’ sauces–are completely absent from this recipe), it’s not actually a chili, and I’m not actually reproducing the recipe here, just giving a pointer and an instruction: Go here. Follow the recipe and add the suggested green chilis and tomatoes amendment.

Done. It’s green and red (with some white) and delicious.

Keep “X” in Xmas!

Some folks get fixated on the silliest things. I can recall folks, speaking from their profound, almost impervious to reason, ignorance, condemning the formulation “Xmas” as being somehow disrespectful of Christ. *sigh* Are these same folks condemning the Chi Rho symbols so common in Lutheran and RC and other heavily tradition-oriented church use? Do these same folks become incensed at their own use of the ignorant display of a “fish symbol” on their own cars? *heh*

Sidebar: the “IXTHUS-fish” symbol was a very, very early “Chrismon”–a symbol meant to represent the Person, life and work of Jesus Christ–formed from the first (Greek) letters of the phrase, “Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.” In case it flew by you, “X” is the first letter in the Greek word we transliterate as “Christ.”

“Xmas” IS “Christmas” just as much as the Chi Rho (Chr–first two Greek letters of “Christos”) symbol is a long-established and respectful Chrismon for “Christ”.

So, folks, let’s put X back in Xmas, OK? At the very least, perhaps it will open doors for a conversation on just Who “X” is.

The Nativity

A note from C.S. Lewis:


Among the oxen (like an ox I’m slow)
I see a glory in the stable grow
Which, with the ox’s dullness might at length
Give me an ox’s strength.

Among the asses (stubborn I as they)
I see my Savior where I looked for hay;
So may my beastlike folly learn at least
The patience of a beast.

Among the sheep (I like a sheep have strayed)
I watch the manger where my Lord is laid;
Oh that my baa-ing nature would win thence
Some woolly innocence.

— C. S. Lewis, from POEMS, edited by Walter Hooper, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1977

“What Can I Give Him?”

While I very much like Gustav Holst’s tune, CRANHAM, I do not particularly like it sung to Christina Rossetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter” but only, really, because of it’s (IMO, of course :-)) unsuitability to the last stanza of the poem. In fact, I’ve more often, over the years, heard the last stanza sung by itself as a simple chorus sung to other tunes. Apparently other musicians felt the same way about the CRANHAM/Bleak Midwinter marriage.

But, being me, I naturally found the other tunes dissatisfying as well, and so I wrote my own poor offering to meet the void I heard. You can judge for yourself whether the verse and tune mate well. As to whether I have embodied the sense of the verse, well, I can say with the Apostle Paul,

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12)

This time, it’s not an audio file (though I have examples). No, this time the music posted is for those who can make some music of their own. Here, get out a piano, a quartet of music readers or your soprano recorder –*heh*– and play/sing along. Just CLICK on the graphic for the full size, then if you wish, RIGHT-CLICK and save it for printout (see permissions paragraph below):

What Can I Give Him

(Permission is granted for small group use of the above, including printing sufficient copies–up to 10; this license is for small group use only–for singers/players to sing/play along for amateur, non-profit performance. Copies may not be further distributed, may not be sold and must acknowledge my copyright. Any recordings made must have a copy submitted to me in mp3 format via email and may NOT be sold, exchanged or distributed without my knowledge or permission. Contact me via email–see my contact page–for any exceptions, or to answer any questions you may have. IOW, enjoy, but be ethical about it.)

The Gift

The Gift

Trees and lights and bells and carols;
Bright-wrapped packages, piled high;
Winter’s sharp blow joins the heralds:
“Christmas-time is nigh!”

Mailmen hurry; shoppers scurry;
Time is fleeing – Oh! So fast!
Parties gather, loud and merry,
Grander than in Christmas’ past.

Pause a moment to remember
That a Savior’s simple birth
Still stirs angel wings in susur’–
“Peace to men; good will on earth!”

Now the Father’s hands that molded
The first Adam in the clay,
Gently ’round a manger folded,
Cradle a Baby in the hay.

So the Greatest Gift extended,
Gift of love and peace to all,
“God’s great love to man descended”
Calls us to a manger stall.

©1990 David Needham

Noted at The Christmas Alliance and submitted to The Carnival of Christmas, hosted this year by Cathouse Chat

Continue reading “The Gift”

Who Is He in Yonder Stall?

Benjamin Russell Hanby is probably best known in popular society, if at all, for the great yawner, “Up On the Housetop” (click, click, click…), that merry paean to “Old Saint Nick” often sung at the yuletide.

But Hanby had a deeper side. In fact, he wrote one of the clearest expositions of the life and work of Christ that is available in easily accessible song, “Who Is He in Yonder Stall.”

Who is He in yonder stall
At whose feet the shepherds fall?
Who is He, in deep distress,
Fasting in the wilderness?


‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;
At His feet, we humbly fall,
Crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Who is He the people bless?
For His words of gentleness?
Who is He to whom they bring?
All the sick and sorrowing?


Who is He that stands and weeps
At the grave where Lazarus sleeps?
Who is He the gathering throng
Greet with loud triumphant song?


Lo, at midnight who is He
Prays in dark Gethsemane?
Who is He on yonder tree
Dies in grief and agony?


Who is He that from the grave
Comes to heal and help and save?
Who is He that from his throne
Rules through all the world alone?


‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;
At His feet, we humbly fall,
Crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

I prefer hearing this sung as a series of questions posed by various choirs and soloists with the refrain sung once at the end in answer to all the questions posed, but that’s not how Hanby wrote it, so usually when I selected this hymn for use, I’d just have the congregation sing it as Hanby wrote it: one verse (question) and the answer repeated again and again in the refrain.

It’s a simple story, simply told and easily grasped.

‘Tis the Lord, O wondrous story!
‘Tis the Lord, the King of glory;
At His feet, we humbly fall,
Crown Him, crown Him Lord of all!

Here’s an excerpt of the song as performed (I think–don’t hold me to this) in the early 1990s by the Moody Bible Institute choir/band:

Click here for standalone player

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