Music & the Spoken Word: An invitation to hope

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. 28, 2021.

Christmas lasts much longer than one day. Weeks in advance, decorations are hung and stores and streetlights are lit up in happy anticipation. Music sounds merrier, more joyful. People start planning parties and preparing special food. Advent calendars count down the days. Children grow increasingly impatient. The very feeling in the air reminds us that something magical is coming — Christmas will soon be here.

All of this eager looking forward is much of the fun — and a good part of the meaning — of Christmas. During this special season, in some small and symbolic way, we reenact the hopeful anticipation of that first Christmas night. For what happened on that night had been anticipated not for weeks or months but for centuries — even since the beginning. “The hopes and fears of all the years” were met in Bethlehem that night (see “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” Hymns, no. 208, emphasis added).

It has been called the greatest story ever told. It’s not a story of hardworking elves, flying reindeer and sacks of presents, although those stories are fun and exciting. The best thing about the real Christmas story is that it is both miraculous and true.

This story is about a baby, a mother, shepherds, angels and a star. But more than that, it’s a story about a promise fulfilled. It’s about light shining in the darkness and hope dispelling fear. It’s about good tidings, great joy, peace on earth and goodwill toward all (see Luke 2:10, 14). When Jesus was born, so were hope and light and life — not just for an oppressed nation in the ancient world but for us today.

This old world can seem dark and lonely, and the way forward can seem impossible at times. But Christmas is an invitation to hope — to look forward, to think of the joy and possibility before us, to ponder the miraculous birth of the Christ child and its significance in our lives. This is why we look forward to Christmas. It’s more than a holiday; it’s the “reason [for] the hope that is in [us]” (see 1 Peter 3:15). This season and always, we anticipate, we celebrate, and we always remember the advent of the Light and Life of the World. Because of Him, we can hope for good things to come.

Tuning in …

The “Music & the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160AM/102.7FM, KSL.comBYUtv, BYUradio, Dish and DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Ch. 143), thetabernaclechoir.orgYouTube and Amazon Alexa (must enable skill). The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MST on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.com/viewers-listeners/airing-schedules.

See the Church News’ archive of ‘Spoken Word’ messages