Wishing you and your family a joy-filled day as we celebrate our Savior’s birth!
We trust you are all doing well, and rejoicing in the bountiful blessings of our Lord. We truly have much to praise Him for. As we celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, and head into a new year, may His peace fill your heart, His joy be your strength, and His Word be your guide.
With rejoicing and praise to the Lord,
The Neely Team
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
This old, favorite Christmas carol is often one of the most misunderstood songs of the season. Its true meaning helps to explain one of the most misused phrases describing Christmas. What Americans hear when they hear “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is not anything like what the English peasants heard when they sang the song over 500 years ago.
The lyrics reveal that the unknown writer knew the Christmas story well. He included the high points of the Gospel throughout the verses of the song. The writer also understood the power of Christ and what His coming meant to all who embraced it.
The song is still sung much like it was way back then, but with the change in meaning of the words, few people understand what the writer was trying to communicate.
When people today say, “Merry Christmas,” they mean have a happy Christmas. However, when the song was written, the word “merry” had a very different meaning. Robin Hood’s “merry” men may have been happy, but the word “merry” that the described them means mighty. Thus, a strong army was a “merry” army. A great king was a “merry” king. A “merry” ruler was a mighty ruler.
Even with the knowledge that the Victorian carolers intended “merry” to mean “mighty,” the song still doesn’t make sense. This is due to the other word whose meaning has changed significantly over the centuries. The word “rest” meant “to keep” or “to make.” And to completely uncover the meaning, we need to insert a comma after the word “merry.” The the meaning is, “God make you mighty, gentlemen.” And what is it that makes us mighty? We do not have to be dismayed because Christ our Savior was born to save us from Satan’s power and we can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us!
So, when we say “Merry Christmas” we are mighty because of the strength we have in Jesus Christ. Because of our mighty Christmas, we have power over sin, death, hell, and the grave. So, may God make you mighty this Christmas!
Adapted from Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins