In the midst of pandemic and pain, God brings tidings of comfort and joy.
As my son and daughter-in-law were pulling out of the driveway to journey back to Washington, D.C., I hollered out: “God Rest You Merry!” Why?
Most of us have misunderstood the classic Christmas carol. In 16th century English, “rest” meant to “keep” or “to continue in.” Interestingly, the word “merry” connoted not only a sense of joy but a sense of might. To understand the hymn correctly, we need to put the comma after the word “Merry,” not before it. The title actually conveys: “May God keep you continually joyful and strong.”
Today’s blessing invokes the old hymn and is rooted in the message of the angel to the shepherds in Luke 2:10:
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God rest you merry!
In the midst of disappointments and dangers,
Receive the timeless message of the angel
To the bewildered Bethlehem shepherds:
Fear not, I bring you good news of great joy!
May every uncertainty be calmed by the high assurance
Of God’s Good News of a Savior.
May every unresolved question be transcended
By the definitive proclamation: Unto you is born
I bless you to soak in the tidings of comfort and joy,