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God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

With our world in chaos and our nation’s future grim, it is more important than ever to retreat into the joys of Christmas. Some consider the holiday a diversion from monotony and others look to it as an escape from reality. We who live in a genuine relationship with Christ, however, know the incarnation story as the very basis of our salvation. Such is the theme of a favorite English carol, now over five hundred years old: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” From, we find out the story behind the song.

“Years ago, the words ‘rest’ and ‘merry’ had different meanings. ‘Merry’ meant strong or valiant, as in Robin Hood and his merry men: they were not happy, but strong and valiant. Rest meant, ‘to make.’ So the line means, ‘God make you strong and valiant, gentlemen.’ The next line then makes sense, ‘Let nothing you dismay.’ And what cause do we have for such courage and strength in the face of difficulties? ‘Remember, Christ our Savior was born on Christmas day.’ The coming of God to be with us in our nature that He might bear our sins for us is sufficient cause for a strong and courageous spirit in this world. If God be for us (and His willingness to be our Immanuel, ‘God with us’ is proof that He is for us) then who can be against us? So, God rest ye merry, Gentlemen (and women).”

You are strong and valiant, even though your present circumstances stand against you. Remember, Christ came to earth in the weakest and most vulnerable form of existence and finished in victory over death, hell and the grave. He came in poverty and left richer than the wealthiest person who ever lived. Powerless, he became the King of the Jews. Slighted at birth, he attracted the love of millions. Unknown, he emerged as the most celebrated figure in all of history. Merry Christmas, indeed!

In Christmas, we have more than a mere symbol of a new beginning. We have the power, the authority and the right to make it happen. Let us bend down and look closely at the manger. We see a cross. Look closer still. We also find a crown. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” Hebrews 2:9. Jesus tasted of our suffering. He now invites us to share his glory. We must not allow the manger, the stable and the swaddling clothes to obscure the Christ child lying in the midst of it all.

I pray that you experience the richness and fullness of Christmas blessings this year. You are loved, honored and appreciated.

The J. Mark Jordan family


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