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.
This well-known, though often overlooked, hymn tells the story of the Christmas angels and the shepherds. It recounts the message of the heavenly messengers and the actions of the recipients. All are then encircled with the central meaning of the Christmas message: tidings of comfort and joy.
Yes, Christ did come to save us and still does, even when we go astray.
The Christmas story is a true double-edged sword. On the one hand, it convicts us of all the ways we continue to cause harm to other children of God around us. On the other, the message of comfort and joy still rings through the sky – displaying God’s mercy for us, in spite of ourselves.
The real beauty of this carol is that it moves from the story to how we are to apply it today. In its final verse, we hear the call to real love with everyone around us. Though we may have fallen short, though we may continue to do so, God still uses the birth of Christ to shape us into our best selves. The ones that God intended us to be. The ones who extend love as Christ does.
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. O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy, o tidings of comfort and joy.