by James Merritt

Good Christian Men Rejoice
James Merritt
2 Corinthians 8:9


1. Seven centuries ago a Christmas carol, often sung today, was written in Latin, with a Latin title that meant ''With Sweet Shouting.'' The great composer, Johann Sabastian Bach, liked it so much he arranged it for the organ, and John Mason Neale later standardized the hymn in English.

2. In English the title was changed to ''Good Christian Men Rejoice.'' The first stanza tells us what every Christian understands about the season called Christmas.

Good Christian men, 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, He is in the manger now; Christ is born today, Christ is born today!

3. Now even the world understands that Christians celebrate Christmas as the birthday of Jesus Christ. But the reason why Christians rejoice at Christmas is found in the second stanza:

Good Christian men, rejoice, With heart and soul and voice; Now ye hear of endless bliss; Jesus Christ was born for this! He hath opened the heavenly door, And man is blessed forever more. Christ was born for this, Christ was born for this!

4. Now what does that phrase ''He hath opened the heavenly door'' mean? You know a door swings two ways. It is both an exit and an entrance. Because Jesus walked out of heaven, we can walk into heaven. That is exactly what we are told in the Christmas text today, 2 Corinthians 8:9.

5. This verse tells us in one sentence why ''Good Christian men [should] rejoice.'' It tells us of the greatest surprise the human race has ever received. Christmas is a time of surprises.

6. I heard about a lady who was preparing Christmas cookies, and there was a knock at the door. She went out to find a man in thin, gaunt, and tattered clothes. She asked him what he wanted. He said, ''Ma'am, I'm looking for some odd jobs just so I could buy some Christmas gifts for my family. Do you have anything I could do fo ...

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