Sunday, 30 December 2007 00:00

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

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.

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.

“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" was first published in Britain in 1833, when it appeared in a book entitled Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern, a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The author is unknown. All my life I have sung this song as one long verse—God rest ye merry gentlemen let nothing you dismay. Only after some time did I notice the comma after merry. God rest you merry, gentlemen. Commas can change or alter the entire meaning of a sentence.

  1. The words of this carol form my pastoral desire for you this New Year.
    "God rest ye merry gentlemen." Gentlemen is the old fashion way of addressing all. The words are in the style of Old English and probably were written 700 years ago. Back then words sometimes conveyed different meaning than during our modern era. Several centuries ago, rest meant keep as in "His brown eyes rested on her for a moment" (John le Carré). Merry could be construed as being happy, but it also has the meaning of being mighty or strong over one's enemies, and therefore happy. God keep you strong, gentlemen. Let nothing in this world cause you fear or doubt. Christ came to deliver you from the power of Satan and the control he has over you.
  2. The way you will be kept in strength is revealed by this carol.
    It is possible to teach old dogs new tricks, and it is possible to change one's ways.
    1. Remember that Christ came to deliver...
      Remember Christ, our Savior, was born on Christmas Day, to save us all from Satan's pow'r when we were gone astray. O tidings of comfort and joy. The commonality of one's sin is not an excuse for the continuation of your sin. "You shall call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21).
    2. Rejoice that Christ cannot be defeated...
      In Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name. O tidings of comfort and joy."For in him the whole fullness of the deity dwells bodily... (he) is the head of all rule and authority" (Colossians 2:9-10). This is the one who came to deliver you.
    3. Rest in Christ and His work on your behalf...
      To free all those who trust in Him from Satan's pow'r and might. When there is nowhere else to turn, there remains one object of trust that actually delivers.
  3. The chorus of this carol forms the good news of personally knowing Christ.
    O tidings of comfort and joy, Comfort and joy; O tidings of comfort and joy. "Tidings" means: Account of what has taken place, and was not before known. Too often we come to the place in our Christian life where we are restless, without peace, trapped by our inner demons and our difficult circumstances, and no hope. I've got good news to tell those of you who have placed your faith in Jesus Christ. "He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion" (Philippians 1:7)
God keep you mighty, gentlemen.

Popular Resources

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

He Came to Dispel the Darkness

John 12:46 (KJV) I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me...

A Joyful Life Regardless of One's Circum…

Romans 12:12 (KJV) Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.

The Power of Christ in Me

Philippians 4:13 (KJV) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

The Purpose of Brokenness

John 12:24 (KJV) Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into...

Our Sin of Impersonating the High Priest

  Hebrews 13:17a (NASB) "Obey your leaders and submit, for they keep watch over your souls as...

Upside Down Wisdom

Luke 1:13-17 (NASB) But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your...

Think Movement (Part II): The Spirit Alw…

Matthew 5:6 (ESV) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be...

12 Memorial Stones

Joshua 4:5-7 (KJV) And Joshua said unto them, Pass over before the ark of the LORD...


Matthew 5:9 (KJV) Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.