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On a Christmas Long Ago

About the Song

Often when I post a song, I look around for public domain art that might match the message. This is especially fun when the subject is Christmas, since over the centuries so much art has been dedicated to the birth of the Savior.

Finding art that suits my taste isn’t always easy, however. In so many depictions of the nativity, Mary seems to have given birth to a two-year-old, and wrapped Him in nothing at all. Poor, shivering child!

I tried to find art for this year’s Christmas Card Carol video, but nothing was quite right. So the video is sparse (rather like some of the swaddling clothes in the paintings) and consists of just lyrics on a background. Still, if you prefer to listen via YouTube, it’s there.

This little song is lyrically very simple, and retells only a part of that beautiful story. For now it’s just solo voice. I’ll eventually get around to writing down the obbligato, and maybe next year all the “Gloria!” passages will prompt an SATB.

Happy Christmas 2016!

Sheet Music Downloads


Personal Composer:

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Spotify, Soundcloud (inc. free downloads)

Click the Soundcloud download icon to download the free track for personal use.

Recording featuring vocals by James Loynes:

Accompaniment track:

Apple Music, Amazon

These files may be copied/shared in any quantity in any physical format unless otherwise noted. They may not be re-sold or offered for download.


  (Video provided to YouTube by outside parties may contain ads that may be skipped after a few seconds.)


In a manger, mean and poor
Mary laid the Son she bore
And wrapped Him well to keep Him warm
On a Christmas long ago
On a holy Christmas night so long ago

At the manger, bleak and bare
Joseph watched with tender care
And whispered thanks to God in prayer
On a Christmas long ago
On a holy Christmas night so long ago

Gloria! the angels cried
Gloria! to God on high
Gloria! our hearts reply

‘Twas a baby, meek and small
Sleeping ‘neath the starlight’s fall
Who came to love and save us all
On a Christmas long ago
On a holy Christmas night so long ago

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  1. Summer Cox

    This is so beautiful, and I can’t thank you enough for making your music so easily accessible. Bless you! I’m singing this tomorrow in Relief Society 👍.

  2. Becky Johnson

    I love your music! Thank you so much for the joy you freely share with us, your fans. 🙂 I look forward to seeing the SATB of this song!
    Becky Johnson

  3. Penny

    Thank you so much for your site. I enjoy all the music, and I am so grateful that you have so many accompaniment tracks to use. Thank you !

  4. Debbie Olmstead

    This is absolutely beautiful! I love it. Thank you for sharing this lovely, tender Christmas Carol Card.

  5. Carrie Mercer

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do this as a SATB number! It is so beautiful. In fact, all of your music is amazing! Thanks for sharing your talent for all of us to enjoy.

  6. Della Campbell

    Your music touches my heart. I always look forward to listening to your new songs. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Joel McCausland

    Sally, just returned from St. George, Utah, where we had a nice family party and Christmas program for my Mom and Dad and a few of their friends, featuring a couple of our favorite ‘Sally Songs’. I probably started writing and recording music about the same time as you and Kurt did (he played trumpet on our first album…and no, I didn’t say CD!), but I don’t think I’ve ever written anything as good as To Those Who Came Before Me, or If the Savior Stood Beside Me…you have a beautiful gift, and you’ve magnified it by your willingness to share your songs with the world.
    Over the past couple of years, I’ve been blessed to lead the singing in our Sr. Primary, and I’m always touched when my kids sing one of your songs–they always bring the spirit, and they usually make it hard for me to read the music through my tears (actually, that’s true both of your songs AND the kids!).
    What you’ve been inspired and blessed to create touches hearts all over the world…thank you so much!


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