12 Days of Emmanuel (Day 5)

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” is a classic Christmas story-song. It focuses on the Lukan narrative of Mary, the angels, and the shepherds and emphasizes the rest God provides through His Son, our Savior.

The refrain, “Oh-oh, tiding of comfort and joy, comfort and joy” is a catchy repeat that allows even those who struggle with all seven verses to always have a part to play.

In this version Sarah follow the original tune, which makes it an arrrangment, but it has its own style. The verses that are here form a chiastic (hourglass structure.) The 2nd and 6th are about Mary and have a protestant feel, as they emphasize both Mary’s humility, and worship of Jesus. (Roman Catholics usually focus on her honor and virtue.) Here’s the structure:

  • 1. Public invitation — God REST ye merry Gentlemen
    • 2. Mary’s HUMILITY — did nothing take in scorn
      • 3. Angel to Shepherds — announcement
        • 4. FEAR NOT — he comes to save us
      • 5. Shepherds go to Bethlehem — laid in a manger
    • 6. Mary’s worship — kneeling to PRAY before the manger
  • 7. Public response — “Now to the Lord sing PRAISES all you within this place, and with true love and brotherhood each other now embrace.”
  • So note the structure:
    • The center verse is #4 — FEAR NOT.
    • Surrounded by Angel and Shepherds (#3 and #5)
    • Sourrounded by Mary (#2 and #6) — HUMBLE and PRAYING,
    • Surrounded by our response: REST and PRAISE

Tidings of comfort and joy!

Here’s where you can find the whole album, Emmanuel.


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