Monday, December 21, 2009

go tell it on the mountain

Krispin, my son-in-law, asked me what my favorite Christmas carol was last night. A good question. For me, however, the answer seems to change every year.

As a young child, my most beloved Christmas song was "Angels We Have Heard On High." While that might seem like a rather lofty song for such a young soul, it delighted and transported me as I belted out the chorus.

"Glo-o-o-o-o-ria! In excelsis deo!"

I had no idea the words I sang meant "Glory to God in the Highest" in latin. I just had a sense that plain English couldn't fully capture the wonderment I felt toward the Christ child's coming. But the strange syllables, rolling easily off my tongue, seemed a worthy offering to Him.

It was, perhaps, my first encounter with speaking in tongues . . .

I've always loved the serene hope of Silent Night and the unabashed worship of O Come, All Ye Faithful. After Jonah was born, my sweet December son, any carol about Mary and her Baby stirred my heart.

This year, my hand's down favorite carol is: Go Tell it on the Mountain! I can't sing the words to that old spiritual without picturing my youngest daughter proclaiming the Good News of Christmas from the mountain tops of India . . . and Uganda . . . and Azerbaijan . . . and Sudan.

She and her team plan to celebrate Christmas somewhere in Sudan later this week--either in a refugee camp or remote village. She has emailed several times and mentioned the growing darkness in that part of the world--but affirmed her resolve to be the light of Christ in those places.

She and each of her team members have toted small shoe boxes full of trinkets and treats halfway across the world. As they open their humble gifts on Dec. 25th, our prayer is that they will feel connected to family, friends and culture by the small offerings we sent.

But I suspect this year, the team will feel more connected than ever to Christ as they serve those who have no concept of Christmas.

And as they go tell it on the mountain, in the midst of the poverty, disease and danger, they will have a greater revelation of the refugee King.

What better gift can there be?