Your rod and your staff, they comfort me // Comfort @ Christmas

Sometimes the heart needs comfort.

“Tidings of comfort and joy.”

“God Rest Ye, Merry Gentlemen,” was never on my top-10 list of most loved Christmas Carols when I was a kid.  Or even as an adult.  It seemed stuffy, quite formal.  Certainly old-fashioned.  In fact, there echos in my memory of the song a rather foreboding, dirge-like pipe-organ rendition.

But I do so love a hymn and enjoy contemplating what the writers of those old words, meanings changing over time as they do, were feeling and communicating.  And my thanks to Jack Hayford for pointing out the absolute power of the blessing of encouragement of this old “Merry Gentlemen” hymn.  I was rather surprised to learn that it dates to  the 1700s and was rather shocking, as old English Christmas carols go, as it was danced to and sung in a very upbeat manner.  Obviously not the death-dirge I imagined as a kid.

Regardless, I embrace the good news of it now. For the heart of the song is: God rest you (no striving, no panic and fear).  Don’t let anything cause you anxiety or alarm.  Remember?  Jesus came and and has redeemed and rescued you.  You have been saved from Satan’s power over you.  This is good news, my friends.  Jesus came and this should fill our hearts with comfort and joy, comfort and joy.  Oh yes!  This is the good news filled with comfort and joy!

Verses 1 and 7 (of 7)

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

 

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

Sometimes the heart needs comfort.

Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me

I am thinking about comfort.  One part of God I am just beginning to see, after all these years, is that He comforts.  Sadly, when screwing up royally many-many-many-many times in my life, I have the Adam and Eve tendency to run away from Him trying to hide instead of running to Him, where, as this www.biblegateway.com search of His own Word shows us: HE COMFORTS (click here). In spite of us and even in the face of our ridiculous unfaithfulness, He keeps pursuing and comforts us.

His rod (the Word, the beautiful scriptures outlining His great love) and His staff (the leading of Holy Spirit – right there, never leaving me), well, they comfort me.  They are there to comfort me, anyway, even though I often resist or run from them.

2 Corinthians 1 NLT

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 5 For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. 6 Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. 7 We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.

Tidings.  Good news.  Here’s-the-latest-grace-report:  Jesus, our Good Shepherd, our God of ALL comfort, by His birth and life (Is. 61 foretells Jesus’ coming and His purpose being “to comfort all who mourn”) and death and resurrection has made way for great comfort and joy! Oh, tidings of comfort and joy!

Sometimes a heart needs comfort.  And comfort is what Father gives, still.

““I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10:14-15 NIV

Merry Christmas.  Tidings of comfort and joy!  And I mean that!

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