GOOD CHRISTIAN MEN, REJOICE
Latin carol, 14th century
Translation by John M. Neale, 1818–1866
Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the Lord comforts His people and will have compassion on His afflicted ones. (Isaiah 49:13)
As this sprightly carol reminds us, Christmas should be the most joyous season of the year for all true Christians. 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 Christmas, however, should not fade away as the holiday passes. The joy and peace that Christ brings to our lives should enable us to be continually rejoicing Christians, regardless of the circumstances. The blessings that came to us on Christmas morn have illuminated our lives forever!
“Good Christian Men, Rejoice” is an unusual combination of 14th century Latin phrases and vernacular German expressions. The original Latin text 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 blessed evermore: 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 the joy of Christmas in your life. Seek to minister an encouraging word to some lonely person. Share this musical message—
Osbeck, K. W.
- Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, will your God say. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. a voice crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make straight in the desert a path for our God. Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be straight, and the rough places plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. A voice said, Cry, And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the grace thereof is as the flowers of the field. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever. O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get these up into the high mountain: O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength: lift it up, be not afraid: say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God. Behold, the Lord God will come with power, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall guide them with young. Isaiah 40:1–11
- And to give knowledge of salvation unto his people, by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the wilderness, till the day came that he should show himself unto Israel. Luke 1:77–79
- Then the Angel said unto them, Be not afraid: for behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people, That is, that unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you, Ye shall find the babe swaddled, and laid in a cratch. And straightway there was with the Angel a multitude of heavenly soldiers, praising God, and saying, Glory be to God in the high heavens, and peace in earth, and toward men good will. And it came to pass when the Angels were gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said one to another, Let us go then unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath showed unto us. So they came with haste, and found both Mary and Joseph and the babe laid in the cratch. And when they had seen it, they published abroad the thing that was told them of the shepherds. But Mary kept all those sayings, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God, for all that they had heard and seen, as it was spoken unto them. Luke 2:10–20
- Blessed be to God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which hath blessed us, with all spiritual blessing in heavenly things in Christ, As he hath chosen us in him, before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love: Who hath predestinated us, to be adopted through Jesus Christ in himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherewith he hath made us freely accepted in his beloved. By whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins, according to hsi rich grace: Whereby he hath been abundant toward us in all wisdom and understanding, And hath opened unto us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he hath purposed in him, That in the dispensation of the fullness of time, he might gather together in one all things, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth even in Christ: In whom also we are chosen when we were predestinated according to the purpose of him, which worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, That we, which first trusted in Christ, should be unto the praise of his glory: Ephesians 1:3–12