Songs of Christmas – Day 13

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen. God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen? Apparently, there is a a lot of misunderstanding about this extremely popular English carol and that has everything to do with a comma.

The comma belongs after Merry and before Gentlemen, according to the Hymns and Carols website. Although that may seem strange, the expression “God rest you merry” was a common farewell greeting, especially among lower classes in the 17th century. (If you want to read more on that you can find it here.)

God rest you merry, Gentlemen

God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay.
For Jesus Christ our Savior,
Was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power,
When we were gone astray.

Chorus
O tidings of comfort and joy,
For Jesus Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day.

In Bethlehem, in Jury,
This blessed Babe was born,
And laid within a manger,
Upon this blessed morn;
The which His mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn. Chorus

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: Chorus

Fear not, then said the Angel,
Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Savior,
Of virtue, power, and might;
So frequently to vanquish all,
The friends of Satan quite; Chorus

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,
This blessed babe to find: Chorus

But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereas this infant lay
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray: Chorus

With sudden joy and gladness
The shepherds were beguiled,
To see the Babe if Israel,
Before His mother mild,
O then with joy and cheerfulness
Rejoice, each mother’s child.  Chorus

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,
Doth bring redeeming grace. Chorus

God bless the ruler of this house,
And send him long to reign,
And many a merry Christmas
May live to see again;
Among your friends and kindred
That live both far and near. Alternate Chorus:

That God send you a happy new year,
Happy new year,
And God send you a happy new year.

About Julia

Here's what you might like to know about me. My name is Julia and I'm a Christian. I love the Bible and, much less importantly, a good steak. My goal with this site is to share the truth of scripture with believer and non-believer alike, and to specifically encourage believers to study and know the Bible, and warn them of false teachings in and around the church. Romans 1:16-17 "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth, to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, the just shall live by faith."
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One Response to Songs of Christmas – Day 13

  1. Jeff says:

    Whoa…there are a lot of verses to this song! 🙂 A lot more than we traditionally see. I’ve always been confused about that comma, too. Thanks for the clarification. I suspected that what you said was correct.

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