December 16 – Go Tell It On the Mountain (A Christmas Carol Advent)





“Go Tell It on the Mountain” was written as an African-American spiritual song by John W. Work.  The carol dates back to the 1860’s and has been performed by a number of gospel performers over the years.

Commentary & Analysis

This song starts with the scene of the shepherds watching their flocks outside Bethlehem when suddenly a light from heaven appeared and angels came to tell them of the birth of their savior and ours (Luke 2:8-15).  The chorus of the song rings out with joy about the good news of Jesus Christ and echoes the feelings that innumerable people have had upon learning what Jesus Christ has done for us – “Go, Tell It On the Mountain, Over the hills and everywhere.”  We are called to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ to those who do not know him (Matthew 28:19-20).

The third verse recounts the story of Jesus’ birth in a manger (Luke 2:13).  It also reminds us that lying in that humble manger was the savior of all mankind (Acts 16:31).  The fourth verse reminds us of the lostness we felt prior to accepting Jesus as Lord.  Finally, the fifth verse reminds us that we should never be proud in our standing as Christians.  We are called by God out of his grace, and the only appropriate response to that is one of humility.

Questions for further Reflection / Devotion

The following questions are meant for your reflection and or devotion.  Feel free to meditate on them, discuss them with your family or others or post your responses here.  I would love to hear from you.

  1. Reflect on the time before you knew Jesus.  What was your life like?
  2. How has your life changed since finding Jesus Christ?  How is your life different today than it was prior to knowing Christ?
  3. When you thinking of your own salvation story, do you think in terms of “finding God” or “God calling you?”  What does this tell you about your own view of salvation?
  4. What do you think is meant by the line “He made me a watchman, Upon the city wall?”
  5. What can you do this Christmas season to “Go tell it on the mountain?”  Who can you tell the Good News of Jesus Christ to?


While shepherds kept their watching
Over silent flocks by night,
Behold throughout the heavens,
There shone a holy light:

Go, Tell It On The Mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere;
Go, Tell It On The Mountain
That Jesus Christ is born.

The shepherds feared and trembled
When lo! above the earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Saviour’s birth:


Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation,
That blessed Christmas morn:


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


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


Return to a Christmas Carol Advent index page.

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