Saturday, December 10, 2005

Baby, What You Goin' To Be

In a previous post, I discussed how my all-time favorite Christmas music is Handel’s Messiah. I consider it to be in a class itself.

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,
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?
I have sung this song with a number of Choirs over the years.

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:

Merry Christmas!


SalGal said...

It won't let me hear it!
Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I often have special spiritual experiences that I would like to share but am unable to put into words anything that would bring meaning to those who read it.

Lisa M. said...

What beautiful words. Thank you so much for sharing.

I too, have sung this song in a few chiors, and had the same thoughts, go through my head as I was carrying, especailly my last baby, Ethan who was born the day after Christmas.

With Ethan, I am still wondering, "Baby, What you goin to be" and more so than ever before has the warmth and comfort commoth from the spirit, saying.. patience, Lisa... I have a plan.

Maren said...

This is my mother's favorite Christmas song. What a beautiful post. It wont let me hear it either.

Maren said...

Thank you for fixing the audio link. I've been listening to it. Oh, it is bringing back memories, good memories from a happy part of my childhood. Within moments though, the tears have begun to flow. Cleansing, grieving tears. Grieving for the hopes and dreams of that enthusiastic and energetic child that I was. For the bright future that was mine for the taking. For everything that I could have been and planned to be and do. Little by little, illness has crept in until it has completely taken over. I try so hard to be optimistic and full of faith and hope still, that I haven't allowed myself to grieve for what has been lost. It is the hope of our Savior, that baby in a manger, that allows me to continue on in the realization that what matters most is not of this world.

Thank you again for this beautiful music, it has managed to transcend my defences and touch a spot in my heart. I needed this. Thank you.

Melyssa said...

What a very special post that was. Thank you so much.

bip2 said...

Oh. My. Gosh. I haven't heard that song since we sang it for Region Choir in 7th grade (I was second chair, Tenor II that year.) Would it be possible to find a download of this song? Thanx!

David B. said...


I'm glad you liked the song too. It is difficult to find a recording of it. Email me and we'll talk about it some more. You can click on the "Email Me" link near the top of my sidebar to send me an email.

Anonymous said...

I am so glad I happened onto your site. I don't normally go to church, but a couple of weeks ago I went to a Christmas eve service (which was fantastic!). When the choir sang,"Baby, What You Goin' To Be"? , I was moved to tears. Since then I have been looking for info about it, and was so happy to not only find the lyrics to it, but the audio as well! Thank You so very much. - Scott U.

David B. said...

Isn't it wonderful how music can sometimes reach right down into our souls, when other forms of communication just don't seem to get through.

Scott U: I'm glad you found this song. As I mentioned in my original post, this song gave me hope and strength, when I was struggling to know how to approach God. I hope and pray that it may do the same for you.

Aprile Thompson said...

David, do you know where I can find the SATB sheet music for Baby, What You Goin' To Be? I remember singing this in High School and just loved it. Everyone in choir couldn't wait until Christmas Time came so we could sing it.

David B. said...

Hi Aprile:

I'm glad you enjoy the song. I have found a location where you can purchase SATB arrangements of "Baby".

You can find it here.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this song, I have been looking for 10 years to find it,

Anonymous said...

Oh and where can I get the Mormon Tab. version? Thanks

Anonymous said...

What a blessed Thanksgiving this turned out to be. I've been seaching for this song for over 20 years, ever since I heard it on a record borrowed from a library. This song is not easy to find!

David B. said...

I have looked around quite a bit to find a CD version of this song by the Tabernacle Choir. Unfortunately, it appears to be "out of print".

The copy I have posted here came from an old Vinyl LP that was produced in the 1970's, that I converted to an MP3. That album, "White Christmas", by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, appears to never have been produced as a CD.

I have not been able to find any other album or CD on which "Baby" has been recorded by the Tabernacle Choir.

Anonymous said...

I believe it. For years, I've looked all over.

Thanks so much putting it on this site. I'm going through some terrible things in my life right now, and it's has been a real blessing to find this.

Anonymous said...

Donny Osmond sings this song on his Christmas CD entitled "Christmas at Home". It isn't as good as the MTC version, but it is readily available in stores.

Dick said...


Like so many others, I have been searching for this song for years since I first heard the recording in the late 70's. It too, is my favorite Christmas song, but I can not find a recording of it anywhere.

I'd love to talk with you about obtaining an mp3 copy of the recording, but I can not find the "email me" link that you spoke about previously. Can you help me?

Thank You.

David B. said...

You can email me at: davidbslc at

Anonymous said...

I have choosen this song to sing for the ward choir but not many have heart of it I would love to play the song for them

Anonymous said...

i have never forgot this song from high school choir- i would always choke up when we performed it too. i have always wondered about it & i am just now going online to find it & its awesome to know it effects are still with us today...

Anonymous said...

What is the name of the record that has this song on it?

David B. said...

The name of the LP Record is:
"White Christmas", by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. It was produced in the late 1970's.

Christie Sartor said...

David... thank you. Our choir sang this on Sunday and the congregation was so touched. It gave me chills to sing it.

D said...

Thank you so much for making this available. How can I get the mp3 of this?

David B. said...

To "d":

You can email me at: davidbslc at

I'll talk to you about how to get an MP3.

SaTbChOiRsTuDeNt said...

Wow, what a wonderful song. I sing the exact same one in my teen SATB choir. but to hear a large group of adults sing it, it brings tears to my eyes. Natalie Sleeth was a very talented composer. Thank-you.

Sunflower said...

I commented earlier on "Baby". Now I am looking for a source for "Oh Jesu Sweet, Oh Jesu Mild O child so holy undefiled. From God the Father thou art etc..." These are the first lines of the piece. It is written for solo voice and choir. I would love to get the name of composer. Please respond to

Oswaldo said...

Dear David:

Thank you very much to share this song with all of us. I has been touched by the Holy Ghost while I was listening it and has contributed to strenght my testimony about our Lord Jesus Christ.

From Chiclayo, Peru

Oswaldo Tello
Central Ward
Chiclayo Peru Central Stake

Anonymous said...

I did this song in middle school. It brings back so many great memories of my choir director, Mary Vrana Bull. I miss her so much. She encouraged me to keep playing the piano and here I am in NYC, singing and accompanying like I was meant to. Thank you Mrs. Bull, wherever you are. And thank YOU for letting me hear Baby, what you goin' to be? once again.

Paulino V.

FirstLadyButler said...

I sang this school in high school many years ago. It is so etched in my mind and heart. I was searching for it and thank God for online search engines. My spirit leaped with joy to hear this beautiful song of expression of my Lord and Savior after so many years. To God be all the Glory.

Anonymous said...

Thanks David for posting this song. I got "drafted" to the ward choir and they are singing it next Sunday. Fortunately I found your sight and can practice the alto part along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. My efforts will be much better thanks to you and your willingness to share. I'm wishing you and your family a very Merry CHRISTmas. Today, and *every* day. Thank you. Tommie Sue

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing this, our school choir used to sing this every year and would ask the alumni to join in. I was looking for the song and am grateful to have found the perfect arrangement!! Thank you again!!!

Anonymous said...

WHITE CHRISTMAS album rights are owned now by Sony Corp. and supposedly reissued the album once. I can't find the reissue. Maybe if we e-mailed the Choir enough they would again put the song in their repertoire.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you posted this years ago. I have always loved this song and remember wearing it out on an old mo'tab cassette as a missionary in Austria. It was cold and dark, and I was far away from home--but this song kept me warm.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this. Baby is one of my very favorite songs...the music moves my soul.

Meg said...

Thanks so much for sharing! Love this song, and was looking for it on ITunes!

Anonymous said...

I have this song on a casett tape named "White Christmas" done by the Morman Tabernacle Chior. Would love to get that tape in CD, but unfortunately it is not available. One of the most beautiful Christmas songs I ever heard. I'm trying to find a way of converting that old casett to cd before it disentergrates , a great casett it is BBunny49

Dr H said...

A really great recording of this song is on Donny Osmond's album Christmas At Home, which has some other really nice songs as well. It's very inexpensive at You can listen to a clip and buy it at

Dr H said...

A really nice recording of this song is on Donny Osmond's album Christmas At Home, which also has some other great songs on it. It's very inexpensive at You can listen to clips and buy it at