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December 05, 2021 - #4812 Music & the Spoken Word

The Music & the Spoken Word broadcast airs live via TV, radio, and internet stream on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. mountain time. For information on other airtimes, visit “Airing Schedules” at

This live performance of Music & the Spoken Word is produced with The Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square practicing COVID protocols. 


Conductors: Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy
Organist: Andrew Unsworth
Announcer: Lloyd Newell

“Ding! Dong! Merrily on High”1
Music: French carol
Lyrics: G. R. Woodward
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“There Are Angels Hov’ring Round”
Music and Lyrics: African-America spiritual
Arrangement: Ryan Murphy

“In dulci jubilo” (organ solo)
Music: German carol
Arrangement: Andrew Unsworth

“How Far Is It to Bethlehem?”1
Music: English carol
Lyrics: Frances Chesterton
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Still, Still, Still”2
Music: Austrian carol
Lyrics: English text by David Warner
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Carol to the King”1
Music: French carol
Lyrics: Jim Christian
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg 

  1. On the CD Rejoice and Be Merry.
  2. On the CD Sing! Choirs of Angels.

The Spoken Word

The Reason for the Season

Christmas is a season of interesting contrasts. In many parts of the world, for example, Christmas comes in the darkest, coldest part of winter—and yet Christmas is a season of light and warmth, characterized by the warm glow of lights on houses and trees. People are kinder and filled with more compassion and love, but at the same time the stress of the season can make people busier, ruder, and more impatient. And while Christmas is traditionally a time of joyful gatherings with friends and family, so many feel uninvited, forgotten, and alone. Contrasts like these are with us all year long, but at Christmastime they are amplified, more tender and poignant.

Yes, Christmas, for some, can be the happiest or saddest of days. And though we can’t always take the sadness from the season—any more than we can take it out of life—there is something we can do to help make Christmas more joyful for ourselves and others: we can focus on the reason for the season. And that reason is the birth and life of the Savior of the world.

One Christmas, a family with several children found that Christmas wasn’t quite as merry for them as it ought to be. They were supposed to be happy and enjoying the holiday, but they were worn out and worried. Instead of good tidings of great joy, they felt stressed and busy. Instead of peace and goodwill, they felt frazzled and frustrated. So they made a decision—one that continues to guide their family today. During the Christmas season, they slow down, simplify, and focus their time and energy on what this season is all about.

In a sense, this family found a star to guide them, like the one the Wise Men followed to find the Christ child so long ago. It led them to a sacred moment of worship, where in simplicity and stillness they could offer their treasures in love and adoration.1 Perhaps each of us would benefit from searching the sky for our own star—from discovering what it is that leads us to the Prince of Peace, setting aside things that draw us away, and humbly worshipping Him: the reason for the season.

  1. See Matthew 2:9–11.