Christmas Playlight: Go Tell It On The Mountain :: YouVersion Event
Grace World Outreach Church
Christmas Playlight: Go Tell It On The Mountain
Pastor Daniel K Norris
Locations & Times
  • Grace World Outreach Church
    20366 Cortez Blvd, Brooksville, FL 34601, USA
    Sunday 10:00 AM
    Sunday 10:00 AM
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Christmas Playlist
Go Tell It On The Mountian

Go Tell It On The Mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Go tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born

When that song was first heard, it was not in the stately sanctuary of a church but in the fields of a southern plantation during one of our nation's darkest periods. It was a song written by slaves, sung by slaves as they labored from sun up to sundown. It was sung around Christmas time while working, or in brief moments of downtime for amusement or in celebration during humble religious gatherings.

Think about the contrast… Where “Silent Night”, or “Hark the Herald Angels Sing" was written for a beautiful Christmas midnight communion service, “Go tell it on the mountain” was the celebration of a slave's Christmas

It was known as a Spiritual. Spirituals were created in the moment and were passed orally from person to person. These folksongs were improvised as suited the singers. Some of the best-known spirituals include: “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” “Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen”, “Steal Away,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Go Down, Moses,” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand,” “Every Time I Feel the Spirit,” “Let Us Break Bread Together on Our Knees,” and “Wade in the Water.”

Not long after the Civil War and the emancipation proclamation a black man named John Wesley Work who was a church choir director in Nashville had a deep interest in the music that defined the experience of the slave. Work felt the new generation of black southerners might best understand the importance of spirituality by learning the songs their ancestors sang during the days of slavery.

John Work passed his love of music and history onto his sons, John and Fredrick. John became a folk singer, composer, and collector of spirituals, and, eventually, a professor of history and Latin at Fisk College. His wife was the music teacher for the Jubilee Singers. This second generation of Works kept the flame of spiritual music burning brightly and saved a huge number of folk songs from being lost or forgotten.

The message and the power of this song springs from a lowly slave’s heart. With no hope of earthly freedom, probably unable to even read the Bible, this unknown slave imagined the emotions of shepherds as a powerful light from heaven shone down on them. Frightened by a power they couldn’t begin to understand, they were greeted by angelic voices trumpeting the birth of a Savior. Leaving their flock, not fully understanding why they were going, these confused men went to see a baby in the most humble of surroundings. And in that place, these shepherds found understanding, knowledge, and love

Go, tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born


The First Verse:
While shepherds kept their watching
O'er silent flocks by night
Behold throughout the heavens
There shone a Holy light

Isaiah 9:2 (ESV)
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.

That verse in Isaiah and in the song mean something deep to the slave

…that in my oppression, the savior comes to break the yoke of oppression (Is 10:27)
…that in my captivity, Jesus takes captivity, captive (Eph 4:8)
… that in my affliction, Christ is my healer (Matt 15:30)

Light always shines the brightest when the night is at its darkest

The second verse:

The shepherds feared and trembled
When, lo! Above the Earth
Rang out the angel chorus
That hailed our Savior's birth

The point of the spirituals was to encourage one another with a spiritual sound… in fact, the name SPIRITUALS comes from Eph 5:19

Ephesians 5:18–20 (NKJV)
18 And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, 20 giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ,

When you’re down you do not need someone singing the blues in your ear. You need someone praising and reminding you who God is. You need someone to sing what heaven is singing.

You can put a chain around my hands, but you cannot chain my praise!

Third Verse:

Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born
And brought us all salvation
That blessed Christmas morn

The Song supposes there is a Mission and a Message... and asks where is the messenger

There was a Mission…
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Luke 4:18-19, 21 NIV

There was a Message…
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
Matthew 5:3-12 NIV

But where is the Messenger?

Someone has to go tell!

Go Tell to the oppressed and the oppressor
Go Tell it to the afflicted and the afflicted
Go Tell it to the slave and the slave owner

Another purpose of the spirituals was that they were used as code — a secret language. The songs were used to communicate with one another without the knowledge of their masters. This was particularly the case when a slave was planning to escape bondage and seek freedom via the Underground Railroad. Harriet Tubman was a conductor in the movement… She would use "Go Down Moses, Go Down" to signal to the slaves that the underground railroad was present and she would help anyone who wanted to escape. In the lyrics would be instructions on where to go.