But now the Lord says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid. Haggai 2:4-5 NLT
God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen! Translation: “God make you strong, Ladies and Gentlemen!” I know I am a few days late to write a post about a Christmas Carol, but I am just keeping in line with the new PR (personal record) I set this year. Unfortunately, it wasn’t my personal best– it was my personal worst. The Christmas cards I sent out were postmarked either Dec. 24 or 26th, making it the latest I have ever mailed out Christmas cards! But I read the featured Scripture in the book of Haggai this morning and felt compelled to share this post with you even though it is a little late.
Recently, I came across the meaning of this very old hymn. (HERE) Even though it was published in the 1800’s it has been around since the 1500’s. English has changed a lot since then and I was surprised to learn the true meaning. I thought the lyrics were wishing merry gentlemen some rest during the busy holidays! But back then, “Rest” meant make and “merry” meant strong. Add the comma that is often forgotten and the song begins with the greeting addressed to the people, “God make you strong!” As I spent some time looking over the words, I was very encouraged. The song instructs us to be strong because of the birth of Jesus. Now that God is with us, nothing should dismay us!
My favorite line from the song is “Let nothing you affright!” As a person–who has friends 🙂 who struggle with fear, this stood out to me. Because of the birth of Jesus, we are to let nothing make us afraid! “Fear Not!” is the most repeated command in the Bible.
In chapter two, Haggai was prophesying to the Jewish people who were returning from their captivity. They had been instructed to rebuild the Temple and were very discouraged with the task, especially when they compared what they were building to the former glorious temple Solomon had built. Three times God told them through the prophet Haggai, “Be strong, be strong, be strong!” He then gives them a promise and a command, “I am with you!” and “Do not be afraid!”
No matter what you are going through right now, you don’t have to be afraid. Emmanuel, God is with us! Whether you are struggling with finances, broken relationships, failing health, or an uncertain future, God rest ye merry, gentlemen. Let NOTHING you affright! LH