December 6 – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (A Christmas Carol Advent)





The composer of this song is not known.  The song first showed up in print in 1923.  The song is referred to in Charles Dickens’ famous A Christmas Carol written in 1843.

Commentary & Analysis

This song, which celebrates many aspects of the birth of Christ, is deeply theological citing many aspects of Jesus’ birth and life including:

  • “Jesus Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day” [Acts 4:12]
  • “To save us all from Satan’s power” / “To free all those who trust in him from Satan’s power and might.” [Hebrews 2:14]
  • “When we were gone astray” [Romans 2:12]
  • “In Bethlehem, In Jury, the blessed Babe was born and laid within a manger: [Luke 2:16]
  • “The which his mother Mary did nothing take in scorn.” [Luke 1:38]
  • “From God our heavenly father” [Matthew 6:9]
  • “A blessed Angel came. And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same.” [Luke 2:8-10]
  • “How that in Bethlehem was born” [Luke 2:4]
  • “The Son of God by name.” [John 1:49]
  • “This day is born a Savior of a pure Virgin bright” [Matthew 1:23]
  • “The Shepherds…went to Bethlehem straightway.” [Luke 2:15]
  • “They found him in a manger where oxen feed on hay.” [Luke 2:16]
  • “And with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace.” [John 15:12]

Questions for further Reflection / Devotion

The following questions are meant for your reflection and or devotion.  Feel free to meditate on them, discuss them with your family or others or post your responses here.  I would love to hear from you.

  1. This song reminds us that we were saved from Satan’s power when we were gone astray.  What did Jesus save you from?
  2. How have you celebrated the saving work of Christ this holiday system?
  3. Have you taken time to “rest” this season?  What can you do tomorrow to make your schedule less hectic?
  4. The final verse of this song wished you a happy new year.  How will you remember the grace and love God in the coming year?
  5. The song says the shepherds rejoiced at the sight of Jesus.    Will you simply acknowledge that Christmas is celebrates the birth of Christ, or will you rejoice in his coming?


God rest you merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay.
For Jesus 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,
For Jesus Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day.

In Bethlehem, in Jury,
This blessed Babe was born,
And laid within a manger,
Upon this blessed morn;
The which His mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn


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:


Fear not, then said the Angel,
Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Savior,
Of virtue, power, and might;
So frequently to vanquish all,
The friends of Satan quite;


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,
This blessed babe to find:


But when to Bethlehem they came,
Whereas this infant lay
They found him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His mother Mary kneeling,
Unto the Lord did pray:


With sudden joy and gladness
The shepherds were beguiled,
To see the Babe if Israel,
Before His mother mild,
O then with joy and cheerfulness
Rejoice, each mother’s child.


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,
Doth bring redeeming grace.

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.

Alternate Chorus:
That God send you a happy new year,
Happy new year,
And God send you a happy new year.

Return to a Christmas Carol Advent index page.

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