The message of Christmas is that the visible material world is bound to the invisible spiritual world.”
“God rest ye merry gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas day,
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r
When we were gone astray.”
The old battle-hardened and scared veterans have always amazed me. Those that live their training; those that walk with confidence through life knowing the dangers, and yet are willing to face them. Those men who have seen the many faces of war, fought the good fight, and still continue on. They were individuals always on the alert, ready, willing and able to take on come what may.
These men are the type who would not be afraid to say “Merry Christmas” in the stores and in public. Political correctness may have its place (mostly in the garbage can) but it is never correct to dismiss the idea of the heavenly Father sending His Son. We can indeed be “Merry” because of that.
The hymn above had a very different meaning in times past. It was not part of jocular attitudes that pervade society today. The jesting, folly, and frivolousness about with songs of jollity and fantasy. Few, even churches, sing the hymns of Christmas with their depth of meaning concerning the Incarnation of our Lord. “Frosty the Snowman” is better known than “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”
Let’s take a moment to look deeper into the meaning of these few words. A “merry” person was one who was “great” and “mighty.” “Rest” meant being kept well. So the first line means, “Be kept well you mighty men” or “God keep and make you mighty.” A strong army is a merry army. “Gentlemen” were people who took appropriate action. The first part of this song is speaking of a mighty person who takes the appropriate action.
Now the words, “Let nothing you dismay.” Look at the sentinel on his post at the 38th parallel. His lips turning blue from the biting cold; fingers are numb as he holds his weapon. The biting cold, tension as tight as a wire, yet he continues on with his rifle slung on his shoulder performing his duty–“let nothing you dismay.” Picture the soldier walking down the street in a village looking diligently for any threat of danger. His senses coiled, he is on the alert. The next step could mean disaster, the next person he meets could be rigged with explosives. He may only have seconds in which to make his decision to react or not. The heat of the desert is stifling, the mud of the jungle is frustrating, the cold of the mountains is numbing–“let nothing you dismay.”
When God makes one a “mighty gentleman” there is little that can bring dismay to him. The world may be full of evil and that could bring dismay and despair to some, but the angels shouted that night that a Savior is come, be not dismayed. This mighty gentleman is the person who wakens each morning in enemy territory and smiles as he prepares for the day. He knows this world is a battlefield and as he marches out to face the enemy he no longer fears, but because of Christ coming to earth, he is of merriment.
Who can better say, “Have a Merry [happy] Christmas” than the one who has confidence in his walk on this earth?
“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”
–2 Corinthians 9:15 (HCSB)