God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (12/23/21)
Mark Barbee

This is one of my favorite Christmas carols and it has been sung in many ways. It has an old English flavor. It speaks of God’s peace to all believers (ladies too). Jesus brings us rest from our trials and labors. May this season be a restful time for your soul as well as your body. (Although that becomes more difficult with crazy Christmas schedules.)

“Let nothing you dismay, remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day, to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.” Yes, without Christ, we are slaves to sin and under Satan’s power. Many people today seem to be logical or even moral, but they are under Satan’s dominion, whether they realize it or not. It needs to be said that no one is morally neutral. Either you are on God’s side, the side of good, or Satan’s side, promoting or allowing evil.

“Oh tidings of comfort and joy.” You can picture carolers moving through a neighborhood, spreading good tidings of comfort and joy. This is not just some nebulous comfort, but specific because Christ is the Savior. The baby in the manger needs to be recognized as the Savior who gave his life and rose again. We should see the cross as well as the manger.

The second verse speaks of the reason for comfort and joy. “From God our heavenly Father the blessed angel came and unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same; how there was born in Bethlehem the Son of God by name.” He is the reason for comfort and joy.

It is sad to see the secular trappings of Christmas; all the TV images, love stories, sales gimmicks, you name it, which carefully avoid any mention of Christ! We know that “He is the reason for the season.” (By the way, the country song of that name by the group Lonestar is awesome.) On the other hand, it is refreshing to hear well-known artists do wonderful renditions of the spiritual carols. For us believers, Christmas will always remind us of Christ first. He is the one who makes the “season bright”. He brings Joy to the World. With Him Christmas doesn’t just come once a year, but lives within us all year long. While that first Christmas may have been peaceful for a short time, Jesus was born into a world of turmoil and suffering, just like ours. But we know that “Wise men still seek Him.”

Lord, because you were born that first Christmas, we accept you as our “comfort and joy.” We celebrate good tidings all year long. We celebrate light and hope both now and in our difficult times.

Lord, we thank you for delivering us from sin and Satan’s domain. We thank you for rest in the midst of struggles. Jesus still calms the storms in our lives. Praise you Lord Jesus, for leaving your throne in glory to bring to us redemption’s story.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.