This Christmas carol begins with the familiar refrain, which is repeated after each stanza. This refrain dominates the hymn, both in terms of the lyrics and the music. The news that Christ the Saviour of the world has been born is such history-changing news that it cannot be kept to oneself. It must be broadcast widely and constantly!
The reference to the mountains comes from Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’” The messenger of this good news climbs the mountains surrounding Jerusalem. No obstacle could stand in the way.
This Christmas carol tells the Christmas story as recorded in Luke’s gospel. The shepherds of Bethlehem were visited by angels who brought the good news from heaven that the long-awaited Messiah had come. The Saviour of the world had been born in Bethlehem. The dark night was filled with heaven’s glory and the shepherds were terrified.
But the angel told them not to be afraid, for he had brought good news. The shepherds then heard the angelic choir sing the good news that needs to ring out across the world.
The good news is explained in the final stanza. God has sent us salvation through the newly born Jesus, His only Son. He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and in so doing He saves us.
Messengers of the gospel crossed big mountains and oceans to bring the good news to many nations. What about us? All that may be needed is to cross the office to talk to our colleagues, or cross the street to share with our neighbours the good news.
It is not possible to celebrate Christmas without having a desire to tell others about Christ our Saviour. This song speaks to our hearts, feet, and lips: “Go and tell.” Christmas carols … let us sing together and let them bring men to God, and men to men.
Father God, we thank you that Jesus is our Saviour. As we celebrate Christmas, may the Holy Spirit guide and help us to tell others about the good news of Christ.