Saturday, December 17, 2016

God Rest Ye Weary Gentlemen

God rest ye merry gentlemen
Let nothing ye dismay.
Remember Christ the Saviour
Was born on Christmas day.
To save us all from Satan's power
When we had gone astray.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy!

     Folks have been singing this carol for over four hundred years. It beautifully captures our celebration of Christmas in a nutshell. Except for that word merry...What particular need do the merry have for rest, for encouragement or comfort? My sister-in-law mentioned to me recently that she has always sung the first line: God rest ye weary gentlemen and was surprised to hear that she has been singing it incorrectly all these years.

     So, whether or not it is correct, I am adopting her version because it makes more sense to me. With so much to become dismayed about in our crumpled old world, I am grateful for this season of celebration in which to remember that we need not be crushed by trouble, and that there is a comfort and even joy to be found in the hope of Christ who came to save us.

     Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest - Matthew 11:28

     And the weary world rejoices...


  1. And the other way to think of it is in the original, where the comma makes all the difference to the meaning: "God rest you merry, gentlemen." Wishing you a very merry Christmas.

  2. Ah yes, the essential comma. I owe my life to a comma: Let's eat Grandma/Let's eat, Grandma. Whew. That was a close one!

    Thank you for the clarification. Merry Christmas!