At long last, the day has come, the child is born in Bethlehem. There, in a manger, lay the Son of God, the Son of Man - Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. And as we have prepared our hearts and minds for this day, we have but one thing left to do: go and tell others what a glorious morn' this truly is.
It's one of those Christmas songs that we don't understand the full meaning of when we sing it, so far removed from the manger. So far removed from the intense, hopeful anticipation of the coming of the Messiah. We sing Go Tell It On the Mountain, and we think, simply, of course. The mountain is the tallest place on all the earth; we should shout from the tallest places that Jesus Christ is come. That way, the whole world will hear us.
But there's more to the mountain than what we know of it.
For the faithful who were awaiting the birth of the Christ, the mountain is much more than just a tall place. It's a holy place, a sacred place. It always has been.
It was on the mountain where God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. It was on the mountain where the Ark came to rest after the flood waters receded. It was on the mountain where Moses met God face-to-face and where God gave to him, and to the people, the Law. It was on the mountain where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal in an epic showdown. It was on the mountain where the people of God worshiped.
In fact, the biggest rift between the Jews and the Samaritans, who are known so well for not liking each other, was over which mountain was most holy to God. Which mountain they should be worshiping on. When Jesus meets the woman at the well, this is what she asks about - the mountain. We worship on this mountain, but the Jews worship on that mountain. Which is the correct mountain for us to be worshiping on?
So when we sing, go tell it on the mountain, it's not just about shouting it from the highest places to all the ends of the earth while all would know; it's about informing the faithful that the day they have prayed for, the day they have longed for, the day they have waited for for generations upon generations, for hundreds and thousands of years, the promised day of the Lord has come.
This Christmas, may we share the hope of the faithful, a hope fulfilled this beautiful morn'. May we let our hearts swell with joy, knowing that the fullness of all the Lord has promised us has come. A baby in a manger in a little town of Bethlehem, pushed out to the edges of a too-crowded inn. A silent night, a holy night.
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