God wants to keep your heart full of joy.
The classic Christmas carol’s title is usually punctuated incorrectly and almost universally interpreted incorrectly. It is NOT “God Rest You, Merry Gentlemen” (as if an invitation to some happy men to take a nap!). The song (one of the oldest extant carols, dated to 16th century or earlier) is actually a profound, stirring blessing statement. The word “rest” in old English meant “to keep” or “to cause to continue”. The comma should be placed after the word “Merry,” not before it. The title actually conveys: “May God keep you continually merry.”
Maybe you’ll want to join me in telling everyone you see this Christmas season, “God Rest You Merry!” The Christmas narratives in the Gospel spill over with joy amidst uncertainty. Receive today’s blessing rooted in Luke 1:46-47 and in the words of the classic carol:
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God rest you merry!
I bless the wellspring of joy in your inmost being.
May the Lord keep you persistently glad.
May your heart be continually light.
You’re a “kept” one—a child of a diligent Father;
Let nothing you dismay.
Like Mary, who amidst swirling uncertainties,
Found such joy in the Good News,
May your soul magnify the Lord
And your spirit rejoice
In God your Savior!
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You can rejoice no matter what. And that’s the Gospel!