Christmastime Music/Spiritual Thoughts 2023


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And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus as the prophets have written, who is called Christ.
- Matthew 1:16 JST

The mortal birth and life and death of the Son of God was essential to our Heavenly Father’s plan “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.” Before the earth was created, Jesus Christ was chosen to experience mortal life and be the Savior necessary to carry out that plan. Father Adam was commanded to offer sacrifices as “a similitude of the sacrifice of the Only Begotten of the Father, which is full of grace and truth. Wherefore [he was taught], thou shalt do all that thou doest in the name of the Son, and thou shalt repent and call upon God in the name of the Son forevermore.”
- Dallin H. Oaks, Prophetic Announcements of Christ's Birth

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This is what Christmas is about, not a new Lexus in the driveway with a big red bow on it.  I get so tired of the advertisements telling everyone to go out and buy gifts and more stuff.  Christmas is about Christ; the King of kings and LORD of lords.

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But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God; only to them who believe on his name. He was born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the same word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, as we beheld his glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
- John 1:12-14 JST

Let me suggest that holding fast to the word of God entails (1) remembering, honoring, and strengthening the personal connection we have with the Savior and His Father through the covenants and ordinances of the restored gospel and (2) prayerfully, earnestly, and consistently using the holy scriptures and the teachings of living prophets and apostles as sure sources of revealed truth. As we are bound and “hold fast” to the Lord and are transformed by living His doctrine, I promise that individually and collectively we will be blessed to “stand in holy places, and shall not be moved.”
- David A. Bednar, But We Heeded Them Not

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For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
- Luke 1:37-38

Mary humbly responded that she would do what God asked, without demanding to know specifics and undoubtedly in spite of having countless questions about the implications for her life. She committed herself without exactly understanding why He was asking that of her or how things would work out. She accepted God’s word unconditionally and in advance, with little knowledge of what lay ahead...

When we decide to do “whatsoever [God] saith unto” us, we earnestly commit to align our everyday behavior with God’s will. Such simple acts of faith as studying the scriptures daily, fasting regularly, and praying with real intent deepen our well of spiritual capacity to meet the demands of mortality. Over time, simple habits of belief lead to miraculous results. They transform our faith from a seedling into a dynamic power for good in our lives. Then, when challenges come our way, our rootedness in Christ provides steadfastness for our souls. God shores up our weaknesses, increases our joys, and causes “all things [to] work together for [our] good.”
- L. Whitney Clayton, Whatever He Saith unto You, Do It

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And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
- Luke 1:41-44

[T]he story of the Savior’s birth represents only a part of why we feel the Spirit during the Christmas season. Christmas is not only a celebration of how Jesus came into the world but also of knowing who He is—our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—and of why He came.
- Craig C. Christensen, The Fulness of the Story of Christmas

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And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
- Luke 1:46-55

Mary had recently received the blessed visitation of the angel who revealed her special role in the “good news and glad tidings” our Father in Heaven had planned for us. She was to be the mother of Jesus Christ, our Savior! The scriptures record only a small portion of the dialogue between Mary and her heavenly visitor. But Mary’s expressions of joy to her cousin Elisabeth tell us that the blessed plan of salvation was unfolded and she understood the role she would play. Her loving response was, “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God, my Savior."

At that moment Mary committed her life to bringing our Savior into mortality, and we as Latter-day Saints know that he had already committed his life unto death for us. When we . . . fully understand this, then the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes not a religion of habit but one of commitment. This commitment can then release us from the bondage of fear and confusion and hesitation in which we sometimes find ourselves in these difficult times. We can only be as strong as we must be when we are truly committed.
- Naomi M. Shumway, Teaching Our Little Women

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On 11/27/2023 at 8:00 AM, SilentOne said:

I have heard this tune before.  But it was associated with a different song (lyrics).  Anyone know where else this tune is used?

EDIT:  I just realized that it has similar patterns to What Child Is This? which is also posted above.  Interesting how the presentation can be so completely different, but still have similar patterns so as to be reminiscent of the same tune.

Edited by Carborendum
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And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
- Matthew 1:21

Mary and Joseph did not need to be taught the deep significance of the name Jesus. The Hebrew root from which it was derived, Jehoshua, means “Jehovah is salvation.” So the mission of Jehovah, soon to be named Jesus, was salvation, and His supreme destiny was to become the Savior of the world.
- Russell M. Nelson, Christ the Savior is Born

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Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
- Matthew 1:22-23

When He was born, He was called Jesus because He would save His people from their sins. But He also was Immanuel (Isa. 7:14), meaning “God with us.”

How appropriate that name, for He was God, and indeed He came into the world to be with us. “God with us”! This He was in fact. He was deity before he was born into mortality, and He was His divine self while on the earth. He did not change His identity. He forever remains the Son of God, our Redeemer and our Savior.
- Mark E. Petersen, Creator and Savior

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Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
- Matthew 1:24-25

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judæa, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
- Luke 2:4-5

Just think how much Heavenly Father trusted Joseph. He trusted Joseph to raise His Beloved Son with loving care. He trusted Joseph to protect both Jesus and Mary. Joseph earned that trust because of his humility, his patience, his obedience, and his willingness to comply with the Lord’s will. He exhibited all of these attributes because he was first a man of complete integrity.
- Richard J. Maynes, The Christmas Story Is a Family Story

Edited by SilentOne
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On 11/27/2023 at 9:51 AM, zil2 said:

This sounds like a variation on the tune for In Humility, Our Savior. :)

Incoming details that nobody wanted.

Come Thou Long Expected Jesus is my favorite Christmas carol. The lyrics were first published in 1744 by Charles Wesley. Apparently history has lost what music he intended for it. The tune you commonly hear with it is Hyfrydol (Rowland Prichard), a Welsh tune first published in 1844. Prior to that, and still commonly today, it is sung to Stuttgart (Christian Friederich Witt). 

The lyrics for In Humility Our Savior were written in 1910 (Mabel Jones Gabbott) and set to Hyfrydol.

I've heard the Hyfrydol used for various hymns in LDS, Protestant, Episcopal, and Catholic services I've attended. It's a pleasant and well liked tune. It's pleasant nature and existence in the public domain make it a popular choice for new hymns where an old feel is desired.



Hyfrydol - Wikipedia

In Humility, Our Savior (

Edited by MarginOfError
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On 12/1/2023 at 1:06 PM, Carborendum said:

Ah!  Of course!  That's even closer than Greensleeves.

The lyrics of Come Thou Long Expected Jesus and In Humility Our Savior can both be sung to the tunes of What Child is This.

Music can be oddly fungible. Thy hymn book has an entire section about which hymns can be sung to which lyrics (See Title, Tune, and Meter, though the online version is not has user friendly as the printed version, if I recall).

For a fun mashup, try singing the lyrics of If You Could Hie To Kolob to the tune of Come Thou Fount

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4 hours ago, MarginOfError said:

The lyrics for In Humility Our Savior were written in 1910 (Mabel Jones Gabbott) and set to Hyfrydol.

Many years ago, I wanted to thank Sister Gabbott for this hymn. I tried to find information about her, but got nowhere. Several years ago, I tried again, and found out unsurprisingly that she had died.

A similar thing happened some years or decades ago when I was thinking about my old high school shop/driver's ed teacher, a Mr. Simon. He lived in a very small town, so I thought it would be easy to find information, but for some reason I couldn't. A few years ago I tried again, searching online for the area of Tekoa, a tiny farming town in eastern Washington state. I finally found a newspaper notification that he had died—again, not surprising, seeing as he was older than my father. So I missed my chance on thanking an old and influential teacher who provided an example for me.

I trust that, not many years hence, I will be able to express my thanks to Sister Gabbott and Mister Simon face to face. Until then, the good they wrought lives on at least in my own heart.

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Lift up your head and be of good cheer; for behold, the time is at hand, and on this night shall the sign be given, and on the morrow come I into the world, to show unto the world that I will fulfil all that which I have caused to be spoken by the mouth of my holy prophets. Behold, I come unto my own, to fulfil all things which I have made known unto the children of men from the foundation of the world, and to do the will, both of the Father and of the Son—of the Father because of me, and of the Son because of my flesh. And behold, the time is at hand, and this night shall the sign be given.
- 3 Nephi 1:13-14

I felt that I saw in my mind and felt in my heart the fulfillment of Samuel’s prophecy that the sun would set without darkness. I saw it at His birth, as if I were somewhere among the people in these lands of promise. And I saw it as it will be when He comes to stand, in resurrected glory, on the Mount of Olives. The darkness is dispelled when the promised Messiah comes with healing in His wings. Knowing how much I need that healing, my heart nearly bursts with joy and love for Him at the thought of that light.
- Henry B. Eyring, Always

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