On The Seventh Day

   When I was younger I really didn't understand some of the words  to the carols very well. For example, in "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," I thought that in the first verse, the angels were talking to the shepherds. "well," I consoled myself, "I can only hand it to the men of the middle ages to call shepherds merry gentlemen."
   Of course this is not actually the case. The first verse is understood as a greeting, a salutation on Christmas day. Traditionally the song is believed to have been sung to the Gentry by the town watchmen on Christmas day; probably the first verse was meant as an apology to the nerves of 'growly' gentry who hadn't been woken up properly. As for who penned this ingenious piece of poetry, being that the first records of it come around the fifteenth century, it is rather hard to trace its author. The lyrics are considered to be the oldest of all "Olde" English carols and I like to think it was written by a clever night guard who had too much time on his hands in the wee hours of yuletide.
   Song artfully tells the story of the angels announcing Jesus' birth to the shepherds, and of their subsequent haste into Bethlehem to find this wond'rous child. At the end is an exhortation to rejoice and worship the Christ childe whom "all others doth deface."

  Simple, but sound in its message. However, startled the Shepherds might have been, or, in later centuries, the sleepy town Gentry, the singers in both cases brought tidings of comfort and joy to all who heard. A babe has been born who will redeem mankind from his curse of sin and darkness.

  Take a moment to enjoy this sprightly olde carol.


                                

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

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

From God our Heavenly Father
A blessed Angel came;
And unto certain Shepherds
Brought tidings of the same:
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by Name.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

"Fear not then," said the Angel,
"Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan's power and might."
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

The shepherds at those tidings
Rejoiced much in mind,
And left their flocks a-feeding
In tempest, storm and wind:
And went to Bethlehem straightway
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

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 other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

         God rest ye merry Gentlemen, and Ladies, this joyful Christmas season, truly, may nothing you dismay.

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