Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas in Song and Photo - Saturday

One simple thing that gives a great deal of clarity to this hymn is the comma. The song does not refer to "merry gentlemen." Instead, the term "rest ye merry" in this day was used the same way we use "rest assured." You could say the the first line more colloquially this way: "With certainty, men, do not dismay, remember Christ our Savior..."

"God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.

O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

In Bethlehem, in Israel, this blessèd Babe was born,
And laid within a manger upon this blessèd morn;
The which His mother Mary did nothing take in scorn.


From God our heavenly Father a blessèd angel came;
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.


“Fear not, then,” said the angel, “Let nothing you afright
This day is born a Savior of a pure virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might.”


The shepherds at those tidings rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding in tempest, storm and wind,
And went to Bethl’em straightaway this blessèd Babe to find.


But when to Bethlehem they came where our dear Savior lay,
They found Him in a manger where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling unto the Lord did pray.


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 all others doth deface.


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—

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

This photo is from 2006. This was the last year that the man on the right is our former pastor, Bro. Gene Stokes. He founded our church in 1976 (I think, haha). Due to health reasons, Bro. Gene retired from the pastorate shortly after this Christmas. He is pastor emeritus of our church and now lives in Georgia. He loved Christmas and started a tradition at our church of everyone getting an apple and orange at Christmastime. Christmas always makes me think of Bro. Gene. Here he is pictured handing out the fruit with our current pastor (who then was serving as assistant pastor), Bro. Robert Barrow.

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