Tidings of Comfort and Joy

The words most commonly associated with Advent and Christmas are peace, joy, hope, and love. The birth of the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, brought all of these things. He is the Prince of Peace whose birth brought and still brings joy and hope to the hearts of men. The salvation that He brings is the gift of God’s love for us. But there is another word that comes to mind in this season of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas. That word is found in the lyrics of the 18th century Christmas carol, God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen:

God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day,
To save us all from Satan’s pow’r when we were gone astray.
O tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy;
O tidings of comfort and joy.

The word that I am speaking of is found three times in this verse and every verse of this song: comfort. The coming of the Messiah, the Savior Jesus Christ not only brings peace, joy, hope, and love. It brings comfort to all who would believe in Him. As I reflect on this song and, particularly, on the word comfort found in its lyrics, I am reminded of Isaiah 40:1: “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God. In verse 2 of that same chapter, God continues by saying, “Tell her (Jerusalem) that her sad days are gone and her sins are pardoned.” In these verses, God spoke to Israel of the comfort that He was providing to His people, a comfort that came because their warfare had come to an end. God was providing His peace and His forgiveness and was restoring His people.

How appropriate a message this is in this season of Advent and Christmas for those who accept Jesus Christ as Savior. Because of His coming as a baby over 2,000 years ago, we can receive that same comfort. Why? Because Jesus came to put an end to sin’s hold on us. He came to put an end to the battle that Satan waged against us through temptation and condemnation. He came to bring us peace, forgiveness, and to restore us in the sight of God. And that is why Christmas brings with it tidings of comfort and joy.

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

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