That's not to say that Other Christmas music is unimportant to me. After the Messiah, perhaps the next most significant Christmas song to my wife and I is “Baby, What You Goin’ To Be”, by Natalie Sleeth.
Here are the Lyrics to this Song:
Baby, Lying in a manger, slumbering so sweetly,I have sung this song with a number of Choirs over the years.
Whatcha gonna be?
Baby all the world is watchin',
all the world awaits to see,
what will you be?
Baby sleeping in a stable, underneath the heavens,
whatcha gonna say?
Baby, did you bring the Good News?
Did you come to light our way?
Oh, look, see the cattle asleep, see the shepherds beside,
See the Wise Men, they bow unto you.
Are you the one who was meant to be Master?
To bring in the Kingdom too?
Alleluia Baby, Hope of all the people,
what you come here to do?
What you come to say?
Baby, can you be the Savior?
Come to save the world one day?
Baby can you be the Savior?
Come to save the world one day?
Baby lying in a manger,
will you save the world one day?
My first experience with this song came as I was singing with the Mormon Youth Chorus. I remember that we had prepared it as a part of our Christmas concert that was performed in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. I learned both the bass and the tenor parts, but I sang bass in the performance. This song has multiple movements among the parts. At various points in the song, each of the parts, in turn, (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) has the melody.
When it came time to sing the two lines: "Come to save the world one day? Baby can you be the Savior?" I found myself struggling to retain my composure. I felt a deep spiritual connection that I was not only just singing about something that happened long ago and far away. But rather, something that was meant for me. Here. Today!
At the time, I had been struggling in my spiritual life, and I was filled with a hope that this Savior came not only to save the whole world, but to save ME as well! Could it be true? Was there a Savior even for me, in all my feelings weakness and sin?
Have you ever felt like you were a lost soul? That you were not worth Saving? As I sang this song, and later listened to a recording of it (over and over, again) I felt the assurance of the Spirit to my heart and soul that the Savior did, indeed, come into the world for me. This assurance gave me hope, and with this hope, I was able to make some needed changes in the direction of my life.
Even today, it is still difficult for me sing this song without tearing up a bit (or a lot).
Baby, What You Goin' To Be is also a special song for my wife. Shortly after we were married, we found ourselves in the Murray (Utah) 23rd Ward. We sang this song as members of the ward choir.
We had a wonderful choir director, Sister Frances Vane. She was a professional musician, and was well known in local musical circles. She had an endearing way to make it incredibly fun to participate in a ward choir. Frances was in her mid-80's at that time. One day, I gave Dawn Ann a kiss after sacrament meeting as we separated for classes. Frances caught us in the act, and with twinkling eyes, a wagging finger, and a pretend scowl on her face said, "No kissing in the chapel!" Unfortunately, a few months after the Christmas season, Frances passed away. We really missed her. Even today, if I give my wife a kiss in the chapel, I have to look up to the heavens, and say, "Sorry Frances", with a smile on my face.
That Christmas, in Frances' ward choir, we rehearsed and sang Baby What You Goin' To Be. It so happened, that Dawn Ann was carrying our first child, Bryan during that Christmas Season. She was about 7 months along at the time.
Expecting a child herself, Dawn Ann found that she could identify more with Mary during that Christmas season, than ever before. She thought of the Love that Mary had for her son, and the knowledge she had that he would be the Savior of the World. Dawn Ann also wondered if Mary knew that to become the Savior, that one day he would have to be sacrificed as well. What would it be like for us to lose our only son?
As all new parents, we couldn't help but reflect on what our baby was goin' to be. Of course, she knew that our baby would not be the Savior of the World, but she was filled with the hope and wonderment that all new parents have as they consider the possibilities for their child. During that Christmas season, and during that song, we were filled with all of the hopes and dreams, and possibilities of what our child might one-day become. Once again, singing this song with dry eyes became difficult, if not impossible.
The words to this song, while wonderful, cannot reflect the depth of meaning it carries without the beautiful music composed by Natalie Sleeth. You can listen to a rendition of this song by the Tabernacle Choir by clicking the player below: