Famous Christmas Carols – Story Behind the Carol – “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”


Discovering the songs our ancestors sang at Christmas time is always fun and it gives us insight into their Christian faith. The words to “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” remind us today what people were admonished to remember in the 15th century. The importance of Christmas is that Christ was born to save us all from Satan’s power  when we were gone astray. We may not know the exact date or time of His birth, but we do know that Christ came into the world to save us:

… God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8

This song is said to be one of the oldest carols. While the information given below will say that it dates back to the 15th century, according to Wikipedia, earliest known publication of the carol was on a 1760 broadsheet. At that time, it was said to be a “new” Christmas Carol. Either way, it certainly isn’t new today.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen was first published in 1833 when it appeared in “Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern,” a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys. The lyrics of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen are traditional olde English and are reputed to date back to the 15th century although the author is unknown.

It is believed that this particular carol was sung to the gentry by town watchmen who earned additional money during the Christmas season. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen continues to be enjoyed. The lyrics to this simple carol are reputed to be one of the oldest carols.*

Information concerning God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” came from the site: Christmas Carols.*

Here are two very different arrangements of the song.

“God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”

God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
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

In Bethlehem, in Israel,
This blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger
Upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary
Did nothing take in scorn
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

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.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

“Fear not then,” said the Angel,
“Let nothing you affright,
This day is born a Saviour
Of a pure Virgin bright,
To free all those who trust in Him
From Satan’s power and might.”
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

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
The Son of God to find.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

And when they came to Bethlehem
Where our dear Saviour lay,
They found Him in a manger,
Where oxen feed on hay;
His Mother Mary kneeling down,
Unto the Lord did pray.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

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 other doth deface.
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy

MERRY CHRISTMAS

Advertisements

About jlue

I am a grandmother of seven and I like to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family. I am not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country.
This entry was posted in Called His name Jesus, Christ, Christianity, Christmas, Famous Christmas Carols, Jesus, Our World Today and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Famous Christmas Carols – Story Behind the Carol – “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen”

  1. Pingback: Christians, Awake, Salute The Happy Morn. Merry Christmas! | GodLovesBummyla

Comments are closed.