Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Advent 2009: “Christmas is Coming,” Hazel Washburn and Lorenzo Mitchell

Advent 2009: “Christmas is Coming,” Hazel Washburn and Lorenzo Mitchell

By: Ardis E. Parshall - November 04, 2009

This song is one of dozens — maybe hundreds — of songs tossed off by general board members of the various auxiliaries for use in Primary programs, Sunday School lessons, and MIA and Relief Society celebrations. Some, like class songs, were intended to be used from year to year until a program changed; others, like this one that appeared in the Children’s Friend of December 1937, were probably meant for one-time use.

Hazel S. Washburn (whom I have been unable as yet to fully identify — Justin??) wrote poems that appeared in several of the church magazines in the early 20th century. Nephi Lorenzo Mitchell (1889-1968), an Englishman by birth and a resident of Davis County, Utah, for most of his adult life, served on various church music committees and was a teacher of music in the Utah schools. Perhaps his best remembered music is that composed for the Tooth Bugs song.

O Christmas is coming, hark! hear the bells ring,
Such wonderful mem’ries their joy chimings bring,
Of packs full of treasure, of stockings hung high,
Of Santa’s eight reindeers, of stars in the sky,

Of good boys and girls and their joy when they find;
The many fine gifts that St. Nick leaves behind!
They whisper so softly of the first Christmas night,
Of Joseph and Mary, the stars that shone bright.

O Christmas is coming, hark! hear the bells ring,
Such wonderful mem’ries that joy chimings bring,
The gift father gave us, that dear baby boy,
When angels sang sweetly of peace and great joy.



  1. Hazel S. Washburn may be Hazel Stolworthy Washburn (1891-1925; m. Francis M. Washburn).

    Comment by Justin — November 4, 2009 @ 8:34 am

  2. I saw her in the database, but some of her poetry was evidently published in 1941, and this song in 1937, so I wasn’t sure. Of course both sources could easily have resurrected scraps from her papers or earlier publications. Nobody seems to have posted anything about her beyond bare genealogical data. Still, maybe I can find something in the library today by specifically targeting this Hazel.

    Thanks, Justin.

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 4, 2009 @ 8:49 am

  3. I located a brief bio in Blanding City Centennial Family Histories, Vol. III (pp. 1546-47).

    Comment by Justin — November 4, 2009 @ 10:09 am

  4. Justin, you continue to amaze.

    Comment by Randy B. — November 4, 2009 @ 10:27 am

  5. When I first glanced at the scanned music, it looked like
    “O Christmas is coming, bark!” and I wondered if it was a carol for the dogs!

    Comment by iguacufalls — November 4, 2009 @ 10:35 am

  6. Imagine bells ringing, whistles buzzing, and balloons falling from the ceiling. That is in celebration of Justin, not only for his phenomenal research skills — and successful identification of Hazel! — but this time in recognition of his having made …

    KEEPA’S 10,000TH COMMENT!!

    (Exclusive of spam, that is.) Whoo-hoo!

    (Hey, I realize no one will be as excited by that as I am, but indulge me, will you?)

    I wish I had a prize for you, Justin. Want to request a post in your honor? What topic?

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 4, 2009 @ 10:38 am

  7. You’ll have to listen to the barking Jingle Bells for that one, iguacu. Funny!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 4, 2009 @ 10:40 am

  8. Congrats, Justin. You definitely deserve a prize — your comments and research are always fantastic. (And this latest one with a link to a photo and history of Hazel Washburn didn’t disappoint!)

    And congrats to Keepapitchinin! 10,000 comments!

    Comment by Hunter — November 4, 2009 @ 11:28 am

  9. … to say nothing of 23,258 spam comments (the program only started assigning comment numbers after I switched the way URLs were created, in case you notice the discrepancy between my statements and the URLs — Akismet keeps track of every last one). I want credit for having scanned that much dreck to be sure no good comments were trapped there!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 4, 2009 @ 11:45 am

  10. Congratulations, Ardis; what a lovely blog and community you’ve created. And, congratulations to Justin, as well. A round of applause for both of you!

    Comment by Researcher — November 4, 2009 @ 12:06 pm

  11. Wow! *blushing* Thank you, Randy, Ardis, Hunter, and Researcher! I’d like to give a shout-out to my dog, Sylvester Smith. Regarding a post, I’ll have to think about some possible topics. (I’ve always wanted to know why Heber J. Grant was baptized at age 7, but that’s a pretty narrow topic.)

    Comment by Justin — November 4, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

  12. If you haven’t done one, Ardis, how about an illustrated post pertaining to the history of Relief Society halls?

    Comment by Justin — November 5, 2009 @ 9:12 am

  13. Haven’t done it — will do it — need a little time to find pictures. Good idea!

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — November 5, 2009 @ 9:27 am

  14. Let me add my congratulations, Ardis. You continually amaze us with the interesting subjects and stories you find.

    Also, thanks to Justin for his assistance in identifying people.

    Comment by Maurine — November 5, 2009 @ 11:14 pm

  15. I am the granddaughter of Hazel Stolworthy Washburn, and while it is true that Grandma Hazel wrote quite a bit of poetry, the poems of hers that I have seen, probably 20 or so are all of the more solemn and spiritual sort, dealing with the struggles of life, death, faith, etc. I haven’t seen any about light topics. I don’t know that this is not her poem, but I kind of doubt it.

    Comment by Anita Davis — January 21, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

  16. I am one of Hazel’s many grandchildren. She was in deed a poet. If she wrote this song and I assume she did, I don’t think it’s one of her best but . . .
    We are so proud of her, mostly for the wonderful mother she was until her untimely death long before her children were adults , and before any of us grandchildren were born.

    Comment by Anita davis — April 6, 2014 @ 11:56 pm

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