Hymn text by Anonymous, Laudis Corona, Boston, 1885-. View the full text of this hymn.

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Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna to his name!

The word “hosanna” is used to express adoration, praise or joy. It is most often used as an exclamation, almost as if the speaker cannot hold back his or her excitement about the topic at hand.

We are told in the book of Luke that after the angel announced the birth of the Savior to a group of humble shepherds

“[That] suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:13-14). 

I like to imagine that when the Savior was born that I was allowed to be in that choir, heralding his voice. I imagine that I was so full of joy that even if I wasn’t an official part of the choir, they couldn’t have stopped me from singing as loudly as I could the message that our Savior was here. I imagine myself, tears streaming down my face, singing for all to hear excited praises of this little boy. I imagine practically shouting with my friends, my brothers and sisters, the words of Isaiah 9:6

“For unto us a child is born… and his name shall be called Wonderful! Counsellor! The mighty God! The everlasting Father! The Prince of Peace! (emphasis added)”

 How truly joyous was this moment! From the beginning of God’s plan, everything hinged on Jesus. Because we chose the path of agency, the only way to return to our Father’s presence was if our older brother came to earth, atoned for our sins, and defeated the grave through resurrection. With the arrival of this precious baby, this wondrous event had begun. I often think of the painting by Harry Anderson of the Second Coming, with angels trumpeting the way for our Savior’s arrival, and imagine that his first coming must have been something like this for the heavenly choir.

But it wasn’t just those in the choir of angels who could not hold back their voices from singing praises of the birth of this precious baby.

We are also told in 3 Nephi that when the new star shone and the skies refused to darken, announcing the Savior’s birth

“[That] it came to pass that they did break forth, all as one, in singing, and praising their God for the great thing which he had done for them, in preserving them from falling into the hands of their enemies. Yea, they did cry: Hosanna to the Most High God. And they did cry: Blessed be the name of the Lord God Almighty, the Most High God. And their hearts were swollen with joy, unto the gushing out of many tears, because of the great goodness of God in delivering them out of the hands of their enemies; and they knew it was because of their repentance and their humility that they had been delivered from an everlasting destruction” (3 Nephi 4:31-33).

Is this the spirit we approach Christmas with? Do we revere “with wond’ring awe… the wondrous little Stranger?” Do we shout hosannas in our homes, at our jobs, in our cars, to our friends and family? Do we seek him as the wise men did? In our lives, is “the old and hallowed story… still sung in every tongue?” May I challenge you to do so? I imagine that most, if not all, of us were clamoring to be in that choir, that we were bursting with joy, and like the Nephites, gushing with tears, at the great goodness of God. His goodness truly is great. May we “with delight” relish in Him this Christmas season.

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