God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
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
God Rest ye merry, Gentlemen is one of those songs where the music doesn’t match the lyrics. The words are joyful and encouraging but the music itself always seemed to me a little dark and defiant. That it was not so much about hope as it was proclamation of intent. Less heart, more decisiveness
Don’t get me wrong, I really really like the song, but it wasn’t until this year that I really started thinking about the meaning and mood of this song as they mingle together.
There are times in our lives where comfort and joy are not so easily come by. Either because of worry or sadness, anger or heartache, apathy or drudgery, we are not comfortable or joyful.
We can be outwardly comfortable, surrounded in warmth, relative safety, ensconced in the trimmings and trappings of the Christmas season. Yet, uncomfortable in our own spiritual and emotional skin.
We can also manufacture outward joy very easily. Too loud laughter, bright smiles underneath frantic eyes. But all of these can disguise the internal knowledge that our joy is a surface joy, not a wellspring from our souls.
Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
and proclaim to her
that her hard service has been completed,
that her sin has been paid for,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
double for all her sins. Isaiah 40:1-2
We have a saying around our house that some days are “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem” days. Where we acknowledge the brokenness and heart worry that we sometimes all experience and look upon one another with mercy and gentleness.
These are days of grace, no questions asked.
The beauty of the image of Jesus as our Everlasting Father is that it is an image flooded with Grace.
The grace of sins forgiven, really forgiven. Sins that are as far from our heavenly father’s mind and heart as the east is from the west.
The grace of Satan’s defeat. That all the things in this world that break and sting us will be made right in Jesus’ fullness.
The grace of a hard service completed. The grace of a hard service presently endured where we are upheld in His loving arms.
An Everlasting Father who never fails, never fades, always endures, protects, provides.
Who does not see our trials as minuscule, but always makes a way.
See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power,
and he rules with a mighty arm.
See, his reward is with him,
and his recompense accompanies him.
He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.
Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
Isaiah 40:10-11, 27-31
These are the glad tidings.
The reminder that Jesus, our Everlasting Father, does not weary of loving us. His hands never fail.
He provides us with unmeasured access to his strength and compassion. We find comfort, strength, and joy in his mercy and strength.
Reflection for the Week
How is your comfort and joy?
Do you feel the spiritual wellspring of joy or are you in a place of spiritual apathy?
Maybe there are circumstances in you life that dim the light of comfort.
As you read, seek out the phases that resonate in your mind and heart.
Do these phrases strike a chord of familiarity within you?
Read the passage a second time.
This time as you read, seek out truths about himself that God may be using to get your attention.
Are there places in your life where you need the Everlasting Father?
Have you forgotten or never learned truths about His love and provision for you?
Ask God to reveal where he has cared for you and provided for you this week.
Where have God’s hands been upon you during this past year?
Seek Truth. Truth about God’s ever-present work in your life.
Truth about His deep and abiding love for you.
Truth about His grace that eternally extends to you.
Embrace the opportunity to sink into His comfort.
Embrace joy in His presence.
Liturgical Readings for the week of December 13
Daily Readings from Watershed Church’s Vade Mecum (I was honored to be a part of their 2015-2016 season. Some of my devotionals come during the Advent Season)