The Biggest Comfort and Best Joy at Christmas
Christmas is nothing, if not frantic. With a pastor for a husband and eight people under my roof, you can bet that I am dizzy from present wrapping, cookie baking, and party planning. And not only frantic, but also heavy. As I draw near to friends who are suffering and enduring loss, the season can feel grey, cruel even.
But there’s an old carol that keeps going through my mind. A colleague in the Balkans posted it on social media one week ago and I’m so glad she did. I learned this morning that it is one of the oldest Christmas carols. In fact, it dates back to the 1500s. I love to imagine my brothers and sisters in Christ through the ages, singing this carol and being strengthened by it. In the midst of the frenzy and also the pain, the words are an anchor. They transcend all that’s lighthearted and heavy-laden this season.
May these 500 year old words hearten, restore, and inspire you too, as we prepare for Christmas morn.
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
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy
Jesus was born to save us from Satan’s power. Is there a greater comfort and joy? We had gone astray and Christ our Savior came.
What could give greater rest this Christmastime?
You and I and all people have earned only death with our sin (Romans 6:23). We deserve to be thrown into a lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). We are children of wrath (Ephesians 2:3).
In and of ourselves we can do nothing to change that. Our righteous deeds are filthy (Isaiah 64:6). We cannot keep the law and earn our salvation (James 2:10).
On our own we are damned in this life and for eternity. But while we were weak, while we were sinners, while we were his enemy, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6, 8).
Even before we were born, the rescue mission of Christmas was ordained. Before the foundation of the earth he chose to save us (Ephesians 1:4-5). We, unworthy and helpless and hopeless, were adopted by God before we ever came into the world. By grace we have been saved through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9).
A completely free and wondrous gift!
It’s only through this baby Jesus that anyone can be saved (Acts 4:12). Eternal life is only through Christ our Savior, born on Christmas day. He said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).
Jesus came, lived, died, and rose again to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). And whoever calls on the name of the Lord, whoever believes, will be saved (Romans 10:13).
Is there a greater comfort? Can there ever be a bigger joy?
This is the truth that brings the festivities and fun, as well as the sorrow and the pain, into perspective.
This—this—is my comfort and joy at Christmas. This is soul deep. This transcends every high and every low. This is the true rest for you and me. Christ our Savior was born to save us when we went astray.
Indeed, what a tiding of comfort and joy.