December 20, 2020 - #4762 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 encore performance of Music & the Spoken Word has been specially selected for airing while the Choir and Orchestra are practicing social distancing. It contains a new Spoken Word, written and delivered by Lloyd Newell.


Conductors: Mack Wilberg and Ryan Murphy
Organist: Richard Elliott
Narrator: Lloyd Newell
With The Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble

“Joy to the World”1
Music: Lowell Mason
Lyrics: Isaac Watts
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Away in a Manger”
Music: William J. Kirkpatrick
Lyrics: Anonymous
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Noe! Noe!”
Music: French carol
Lyrics: David Warner
Arrangement: Mack Wilberg

“Good King Wenceslas” (Choir interlude)
Music and Lyrics: Traditional

“Good King Wenceslas” organ solo
Music: Traditional
Arrangement: Virgil Fox

“Christmas Bells Are Ringing”
Music and Lyrics: Robert P. Manookin
Arrangement: Arthur Harris

“A Christmas Carol” from Scrooge2
Music and Lyrics: Leslie Bricusse
Arrangement: Michael Davis

“Hallelujah Chorus” from Messiah3
Music: George Frideric Handel
Lyrics: Scripture
Featuring Gabriel Trumpet Ensemble

  1. On the CD A Merry Little Christmas.
  2. On the CD Keep Christmas with You.
  3. On the CD Messiah—Complete Oratorio and the CD Messiah—Highlights.

The Spoken Word

“The Light That Shineth”

It was night. A group of shepherds were camped in a field outside the little town of Bethlehem, watching over their flock in the darkness. Suddenly, “the glory of the Lord shone round about them,” and a holy angel, accompanied by “a multitude of the heavenly host,” lit up the night sky. Their message of “peace, good will toward men” led the shepherds with haste into the city, where they “found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” Before them was the Light of the World, “and when they had seen [Him], they made known abroad” what they experienced, “glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen” (see Luke 2:8–20). 

Other worshippers came from farther away, also led by a light shining in the darkness. The Wise Men found their way to Him by following “his star in the east” (Matthew 2:2)—not just any star, but His star. There was something special about that star, just as there was something special about that Child, something that drew the pure and humble to Him in the spirit of devotion and worship. “And when [the Wise Men] were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:11). Who could stand in the presence of One so holy? 

According to legend, the author Charles Lamb was once among a group of famous writers who began to wonder what they would do if the noble and great figures of the past were to enter the room. Lamb reportedly said, “If Shakespeare were to enter, we would rise to our feet in admiration; but if Jesus were to enter, we would kneel in adoration.”1

Like the shepherds, like the Wise Men, and like all who watch and are wise, we kneel before the King of kings and Lord of lords. We look for His star, His glory, that lights up our dark night. We may not be, in the Apostle Peter’s words, “eyewitnesses of his majesty.” But we can all witness that He is the “light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in [our] hearts” (2 Peter 1:16, 19). 

  1. For one account of this incident, see Alexandra Orr, Life and Letters of Robert Browning (1908), 303, footnote.