Music and the Spoken Word: Looking forward to Christmas

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This will be given Nov. 25, 2018.

This season of the year is a time of joyful anticipation. As summer’s heat gives way to fall’s vibrant colors, as planting and tending become reaping and harvesting, the season of thanks flows quite naturally into a season of generous giving.

Maybe that’s why we look forward so eagerly to Christmastime — because at Christmas we tend to think more of others than ourselves. We extend more love; we offer more kindness; we give more time. We gather with loved ones and open our hearts to hope and faith. Even with winter’s storms ahead, we feel the warmth of joyful anticipation that seems to be unique to Christmas. In fact, it’s a Christmas tradition that goes back centuries.

Long ago, on a quiet, starry night in Bethlehem, the first Christmas became the fulfillment of a long-anticipated promise. Humble shepherds had looked forward to it. Noble wise men had awaited it. Indeed, all eternity watched in joyful anticipation, because the promise of Christmas gives us something wondrous to look forward to. It always seems to give us greater perspective, more willingness to set aside less important things and more hope for good things to come.

So it’s no wonder that Christmas has become the most eagerly anticipated season of the year. Phillips Brooks captured that feeling in these words:

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!

Christmas in lands of the fir tree and pine,

Christmas in lands of the palm tree and vine;

Christmas where snow-peaks stand solemn and white,

Christmas where corn-fields lie sunny and bright;

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night! …

Christmas where peace, like a dove in its flight,

Broods o’er brave men in the thick of the fight;

Everywhere, everywhere, Christmas to-night!

For the Christ-child who comes is the Master of all,

No palace too great and no cottage too small.1

Yes, everyone can be touched by the joyful anticipation that Christmas brings. We need only open our hearts to its wonders and our homes to its peace and hope.

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM,, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143) and on the Tabernacle Choir's website and YouTube channel. The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at