Latin Carol, 14th Century
Translation by John M. Neale, 1818-1866
Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.
Isaiah 49:13

As this cheerful carol reminds us, the celebrations of Christ's birth and resurrection should be the most joyous seasons of the year for the true believer. Our lives should be filled with gratitude to God for the immeasurable love shown to us in the gift of His Son. Out of joyous hearts we should be exuberant in "heart and soul and voice"! This ancient hymn uses frequent repetition to impress upon us that the birth of Christ won for us "endless bliss" by opening the way to Heaven and conquering our fear of death through His assurance of eternal life!

The festive spirit of this holy day season, however, should not fade away as December the 25th passes. The joy and peace that Christ brings to our lives should enable us to be continually rejoicing Christians, regardless of the circumstances. The Blessing that came to us in Bethlehem, went to an old, rugged cross outside of Jerusalem, and culminated in an empty, garden tomb...JESUS...has illuminated the life of the believer forever!

"Good Christian Men, Rejoice" is an unusual combination of 14th Century Latin phrases and vernacular German expressions. The original Latin was titled "In Dulci Jubilo", meaning "in sweet shouting". Over the years German people added their own wording, making this a "macaronic carol"--one that combines two or more languages. The carol was later given a free rendering English translation by John M. Neale, the noted 19th Century scholar and translator of ancient hymns. It first appeared in Neale's Carols for Christmastide in 1853.

Good 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 Heaven's 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!

*For Today*: Isaiah 40:1-11; Luke 1:77-79; Luke 2:10-20; Ephesians 1:3-12

Determine by God's help to maintain joy in your day to day life. Seek to minister an encouraging word to some lonely person today.

Music url: The Cyber Hymnal

Taken from Amazing Grace -- 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions Copyright 1990 by Kenneth W. Osbeck. Published by Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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