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God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord’”  Luke 2:10-11 NIV 

During the Christmas season each year, churches like to dig out the old traditional carols and we have fun singing them, but if we’re honest, some of the words are so outdated that we don’t necessarily know what all of them mean. If we look closely though, these old songs have messages that still have pertinent meanings for us today.

For example, when we hear the lyric “God rest you merry, gentlemen” it may sound like an admonishment: “You are being too merry gentlemen, I think you should rest.” This confusion is because the meanings of the words have changed over time (also because we need to be sure to put the comma after ‘merry’ and not before). ‘Rest’ in this context did not mean relax as we recognize it today, but ‘to keep or to remain,’ so ‘God rest you merry’ was a phrase that originally meant something like ‘God keep you in good spirits.’ In fact, long before this song was published in 1760, the phrase was commonly spoken as a greeting (Shakespeare even used it in his play As You Like It in 1599!).

So how can we find meaning from these antiquated words today? After the opening lyric, the song continues: “let nothing you dismay/Remember Christ our savior was born upon this day/ To save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray/Oh tidings of comfort and joy.” The whole message is conveying that we should not feel dismayed by anything because we remember this day that Jesus was born to save us from our sins, and our Christmas season is to celebrate the joy we can only find in Christ.

If you are feeling overwhelmed this December with the number of Christmas parties to attend, homemade cookies that need to be sent to school, what present to buy for which child, and what relatives need to be seated together at Christmas dinner, then remember what the angel told the shepherds on that miraculous night: “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10b-11, NIV). Don’t be stressed by material things, for the savior has come. Spread the good news! What a miracle! Put down that wrapping paper, get the flour out of your hair, and rejoice! I bet your spirits will be raised.

God rest you merry,

Erin Tabor

 

Photo Credit: Image courtesy of  https://www.stockfreeimages.com/4012247/Caroler-Ornaments.html           

The gift we’ll never lose

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”Luke 2:11 

You may have noticed this writer has been a little absent of late. My family has recently moved after a nerve-wracking period of transferring jobs. As the military joke goes, “Hurry up and wait.” There has been a great deal of transitions, as we now live in a different state. We packed up our house ourselves, toddler in tow, and drove the seven hours to our new home.

I have come face to face with not having my wants met. Our hearts’ cry is to bring another child into the world, but yet God is not allowing it at this time. We are once again in‘the stretching phase.’ Recently very dear family has also suffered a devastating setback. Something they were so close to having was quickly taken away, plunging them once again into waiting and hoping. I am reminded of the verse, ‘Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.’ (Proverbs 13:12)

Any transition is hard and this new season brings on its’ own challenges. Finding a church, friends,even places to take our toddler to play all take time, patience, and a little humor. This new season of our life has also brought the desire to add to our family. My body needs a little help, so we’ve begun seeing a specialist after a year of trying.

What are we to do in the waiting? What are we to do when we are surrounded by those proclaiming God’s goodness in their lives, celebrating all His blessings?

I have come face to face with the question: Do I love God for who He is? Or do I love him for what He will give me? Maybe like me you remember asking a jolly man in a red suit for gifts this time of year, eyes aglow with visions of toys. Let’s remember the best gift God has given us, that will never be taken away: Jesus. Let us love God for who He is and what He has done. Let us love Him for the right reasons,not just for the blessings we hope for. More painfully, let us love Him regardless of our circumstances.

When we set our eyes on the eternal perspective of Jesus, our trials become far more temporary. Were member this is not our home. We remember the greatest gift of all, a humble child born in a manger, come to save us all.

In Him,

Amy

Pondering Proverbs: A Pig’s Snout or a Precious Jewel? (Part 5)

“A gracious woman gains respect.” 
Proverbs 11:16a NLT

As I close out this series of doses from Proverbs, I would be amiss if I didn’t cover one of the most recurring themes that I discovered – WOMEN! Whether it is a lengthy passage, or a single verse randomly placed within its pages, it is fascinating to read the diverse descriptions and details written about the female gender. To make it simple, most of the references about women fall in one of two categories – the good or the bad.

We’ll start with the ‘not so desirable’ grouping and work our way to the good. In the beginning chapters of Proverbs, one can read explicit details about the dangers and the pitfalls of falling for the seductive adulteress and the wiles of the harlot (for more on that check out Part 3 of this series). How any man could not heed the warnings of this kind of woman is beyond me! Solomon’s advice is loud and clear.

Throughout its thirty-one chapters, the Proverbs include other detrimental descriptions of women such as foolish, contentious, evil, cunning, lacking discretion, boisterous, rebellious, and unstable.  At all cost, let’s avoid these character flaws. Proverbs 11:22 sums it up with a graphic word picture.

Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman without good sense. (NRSV)

Let’s focus now on some of the good things we find about women in the Scriptures. If you are unfamiliar with the Proverbs 31 woman, you definitely need to check her out. Verses 10 through 31 give an in depth look at a most remarkable lady. I think it only fair to assume that the lengthy description covers many years of her life as she learned and matured in her walk with God. There’s not enough room in this short devotional to list all the outstanding traits she possessed. Whether you are male or female, I trust you will take time to acquaint yourself with these verses and put into practice some of her worthy actions.

It is refreshing and encouraging to study the beneficial qualities and behaviors of a godly woman. Throughout Proverbs you will find her described as worthy, wise, prudent, excellent, virtuous, gracious, strong, and God-fearing. She attains honor; she builds her house instead of destroying it; she is the crown of her husband; she is worth more than jewels – diamonds, rubies, or pearls!

To all our female readers out there, what kind of woman do you want to be? The choice is yours. Make a wise one!                                                                                                                                 [Digging Deeper – Proverbs 12:4, 14:1, 19:14, 23:27-28, 27:15-16, 31:10-31]

His priceless jewel,

Beverly <><

 

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of www.freeimages.com/photo/pot-belly-pig-2-1464076

Courtesy of Pixabay.com/jewels-jewelry-necklace-broach-396441