Good Christian Friends, Rejoice
Good Christian friends, rejoice with heart and soul and voice;
Give ye heed to what we say: 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 friends, rejoice!” This isn’t the first year we’ve found ourselves needing that reminder. In recent Christmases, the song would have been more honestly sung as, “Good Christian friends, crawl to the finish! Exams are almost over.” Or, “Good Christian friends, hurry up! Make sure you buy everyone the best present.” Or this year, “Good Christian friends, stay calm!! Just get through another month of big life transitions.”
So, we need this reminder to set down the things that seem oh so urgent, and rejoice. Not to rejoice in being done just so we can hurriedly recover from our exhaustion, but to pause, step away from our earthly habits, and rejoice in the coming of Christ.
The song’s joyous repetition, “Christ is born! Christ is born!” reminds us once again that there is nothing greater than the promise Christ brings. It ignites in us a rebirth of the assurance that there is something that is far greater than material worth, professional successes, and earthly victories.
In singing the second verse, I find a natural emphasis at “Christ was born for this.” A reminder that the world was waiting for Messiah, and that at his birth, Christ was the fulfillment of that longing. He was at his birth, and is again today.
So, have hope; the world is made anew, because the One has come who knows us fully. The One has come who sees us in our pain and suffering, our weaknesses and our bondage. The One has come who forgives us for our wrongdoing; who recognizes who we are and who we can be. The One has come who challenges our habits and routines, our laziness and our complacency. The One has come who knows our deepest needs and longings; who knows a way of love, acceptance, community. The One has come who gives us reason to stop, remember who we are, and rejoice.
— Baker Lawrimore