Music and the Spoken Word: That ‘light that shineth’

Editor’s note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square broadcast. This is an encore performance of “Music and the Spoken Word” with a new “Spoken Word” selected and recorded while the choir is practicing social distancing. This will be given Sunday, Dec. 20, 2020.

It was night. A group of shepherds were camped in a field outside the little town of Bethlehem, watching over their flock in the darkness. Suddenly, “the glory of the Lord shone round about them,” and a holy angel, accompanied by “a multitude of the heavenly host,” lit up the night sky. Their message of “peace, good will toward men” led the shepherds with haste into the city, where they “found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” Before them was the Light of the World, “and when they had seen (Him), they made known abroad” what they experienced, “glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (see Luke 2:8–20).

Other worshippers came from farther away, also led by a light shining in the darkness. The wise men found their way to Him by following “his star in the east” (Matthew 2:2) — not just any star, but His star. There was something special about that star, just as there was something special about that Child, something that drew the pure and humble to Him in the spirit of devotion and worship. “And when (the wise men) were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:11). Who could stand in the presence of One so holy?

According to legend, the author Charles Lamb was once among a group of famous writers who began to wonder what they would do if the noble and great figures of the past were to enter the room. Lamb reportedly said, “If Shakespeare were to enter, we would rise to our feet in admiration; but if Jesus were to enter, we would kneel in adoration.” (For one account of this incident, see “Life and Letters of Robert Browning,” by Alexandra Orr, published in 1908, page 303, see footnote.)

Like the shepherds, like the wise men, and like all who watch and are wise, we kneel before the King of kings and Lord of lords. We look for His star, His glory, that lights up our dark night. We may not be, in the Apostle Peter’s words, “eyewitnesses of his majesty.” But we can all witness that He is the “light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in (our) hearts” (2 Peter 1:16, 19).

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, ksl.com, BYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirectTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), the tabernaclechoir.org, youtube.com/TheTabernacleChoiratTempleSquare and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). 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 musicandthespokenword.org/schedules.