Let’s Sing: Good Christian Friends Rejoice

A.K.A. Good Christian Men Rejoice

Today we continue our Advent/Christmas series titled “Let’s Sing.” This is our 11th song of the series. For easy reference to the remainder of the series, please see the index, “Let’s Sing” at http://revbroyles.me/2020/12/06/lets-sing/.

I knew it would come, I just didn’t know which Carol was first. This old carol was written in an era that inclusive speech was a completely foreign idea. I do like the idea of Christian friends rejoicing together.

This hymn is quite old and know one knows its lyricist or when it was written. There are many who believe Heinrich Seuse, a German mystic wrote the first version of the carol in 1328. Seuse said he heard the angels singing the words. We, of course, have no way to prove this ever took place. It is also said that Martin Luther wrote one of the verses in the 1500s.

In 1745 a group of Moravians sang the hymn in 13 different European languages and Native American dialects. John M. Neale translated the version we use today.

The little black dots (the music for those that don’t get my humor) are almost as old as the lyrics and date back to 1400 or before. The composer is unknown. Both the lyricist and composer

I wouldn’t say “Good Christian Friends Rejoice,” is my favorite Carol. In fact, I don’t think I know anyone who would say this carol is their favorite. But perhaps we all like it enough to keep congregations singing it every year.

1 Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ was born today.
Ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today!

2 Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
now ye hear of endless bliss: Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened heaven’s door, and we are blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!

3 Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
now ye need not fear the grave: Jesus Christ was born to save!
Calls you one and calls you all to gain his everlasting hall.
Christ was born to save! Christ was born to save! 

The opening line of each verse begins the same way, “Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice…” Rejoice friends with all you are and all you have.

Verse 1 continues, “give ye heed to what we say: Jesus Christ was born today. Ox and ass before him bow, and he is in the manger now, Christ is born today…” Pay attention to the singer, proclaiming the birth of Jesus. He is not just our Lord, but the Lord of all creation. Who? Jesus who lies in the manger.

Here the joy around us all now. See and hear the blessing God brings to us. All this is grace, opening heavens door where we will experience God’s blessing for all time and forever more because Jesus came to save us. He saves us, he calls us all so we might gain eternal life. That my friends is grace on display.

We don’t need to fear the future, the future beyond our own death because we have grace that comes from the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It calls us to move beyond ourselves to something bigger and more permanent. We have all this because of the birth of Jesus we celebrate his birth as something that never will leave us, even on the other side of the grave.

Be blessed.

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Sources:
https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-good-christian-friends-rejoice
https://www.christianity.com/blogs/dr-ray-pritchard/good-christian-men-rejoice.html

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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