Thursday, December 18, 2008

God make you strong and valiant.


I love knowing the stories and meanings behind old hymns and carols and so when I came across this carol I decided to do a little research.

Just soak these words in first...


God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

"Fear not then," said the Angel,
"Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan's power and might."
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

Now to the Lord sing praises,
All you within this place,
And with true love and brotherhood
Each other now embrace;
This holy tide of Christmas
All other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

When we say the word "merry" in our modern times we're usually meaning happy or joyful. Yet, since this is one the oldest carols, back when it was written "merry" had a whole different meaning. In those times "merry" was used for describing something or someone that was great or mighty. Another word that is read differently is the word "rest" which also meant keep or make. So, for you, what would happen to the meaning of this song if instead of reading "God rest you merry Gentlemen" you read "God make you strong and valiant"?! ...let nothing you dismay. Why? Remember Christ, our Saviour was born on Christmas day. To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray!!

What tidings of comfort and joy THAT is!

Thanks to my old pastor, Curtis, I now started wondering where the word "Christmas" came from. Since, I didn't spend a ton of time on this, my findings could be a bit off, but what I did find was that it came from the words "Christ" and "Mass". Mass in Latin could mean liturgy which in turn pointed towards several words one of which was sacrifice. Christmas. Sacrifice of Christ. Wow. Christ coming to earth as a baby WAS sacrifice because it led Him to His ultimate sacrifice which was giving His life for us, so we could be saved for all eternity!


I will never speak those two words the same again...


Merry Christmas


Powerful Christmas


Powerful and mighty sacrifice of Christ!!


So, may God make you strong and valiant, may He give you rest, may you know and live the sacrifice of Christ, and may you have comfort and joy this wonderful season.



(now go back and read the words to that carol one more time OR sing them at the tops of your lungs)

3 comments:

Brandi said...

This is very interesting! Thank you for posting it.

About the word Christmas - my mom ALWAYS hated to see "x-mas" written on store windows, etc. She said they were removing Christ from Christmas. This made a huge impact on me and I have NEVER abbreviated Christmas! One time I started to - erased the X and filled in Christ!

Amanda P said...

Wow, that's a really great breakdown for us, Thanks for doing the work...we just get to enjoy. Powerful and mighty sacrifice of Christ. Wow.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing Cathy. That is so encouraging. It is good to stop and think about what we are saying and singing, especially this time of year when it can be so habitual. I really appreciate this insight. - Summer