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.
Seeking the Genuine,
Copyright 2020, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved