Good Christian Men Rejoice

VictorianChristmasGood Christian men, rejoice with heart and soul, and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say: News! News! Jesus Christ is born today;
Ox and ass before Him bow; and He is in the manger now.
Christ is born today! Christ is born today!

Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice;
Now ye hear of endless bliss: Joy! Joy! Jesus Christ was born for this!
He has opened the heavenly door, and man is blest forevermore.
Christ was born for this! Christ was born for this!

Good Christian men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice;
Now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! 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!

Words by Heinrich Suso, 14th Century
Music is a 14th Century German Melody

 


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!
Philippians 4:4

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21

“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
Luke 15:8- 10

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:56


 

A couple of years ago my son was working on his Eagle project for Boy Scouts. Now while it was his project, meaning he did the planning and overseeing, there were a lot of us who did the physical work. Part of the job involved landscaping. Well, after a day of digging in the dirt and putting in new plants, I looked at my hands and had an alarming realization. I no longer had my wedding ring on. Needless to say, I was more than a little panicked .

I began retracing my steps to everywhere I had been. The problem is, I had been everywhere.  One of the scouts called his dad who had a metal detector.  He brought the detector and we continued to search to no avail.  I was becoming greatly worried.  I decided to run to the rental  store and pick-up a stronger metal detector for one last shot.  Finally after a total of about three hours of searching, we struck gold (literally). My son located the ring buried under a hasta I had planted. I was overjoyed with relief.  I had reason to rejoice because we had located something of great value, both financially and more importantly personally.  This feeling of rejoicing that comes from receiving something so important is a theme found in the old Christmas hymn, “Good Christian Men Rejoice.”

The hymn begins by calling us to “rejoice with heart and soul, and voice.” In other words, we need to rejoice with our whole being, rejoice in all we do, or as Paul puts it in Philippians 4:4, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it always!”   Yes, we are to rejoice, but lest we wonder, why is it that we are to rejoice, the author answers immediately with, “Give ye heed to what we say: News! News! Jesus Christ is born today.”  Our rejoicing is in the birth of Jesus.

It was Jesus’s entry into the world that is the source of joy that drives us to rejoice. As the hymn continues, “He has opened the heavenly door.” It is through His birth that we can have what we could never find on our own . . . Salvation (Matthew 1:21).  It is through His birth that we may enter into God’s very presence. So the hymn continues, “Now ye need not fear the grave: Peace! Peace! Jesus Christ was born to save!”

We rejoice not that a baby was born, but because God gave us the only means of knowing him.  The only means of salvation.  A precious unmatched gift. This is the rejoicing found in Luke 15:8 – 10 were we read, ““Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Our call to rejoice is not simply within us, but it is a reflection of the rejoicing in heaven itself.  For it is through this babe in the manger, that salvation came to earth. It is through Him that we have victory over sin (1 Corinthians 15:56). In light of this great truth, it is us who should truly “rejoice, with heart and soul and voice.”

 

 

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