Monday, November 4, 2013

Good Christian Men, Rejoice

Here is a Hymn for the beginning of the Christmas Carol season. I have missed it the last few years because of a busy schedule, but I will not miss it this year!
Title: Good Christian Men, Rejoice
Tune: Indulce Jubilo
Author/Translator: John Mason Neale (See “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”)
Composer: Unknown

                This medieval tune has been sung for many years, and dates all the way back to the 14th century. Though the text was not published until 1533 in Joseph Klug’s Geistliche Lieder, it was mentioned earlier by a famous 14th century writer who claims to have seen Angels singing the hymn while dancing around the mystic Heinrich Suso (D. 1366) (, Notes, par. 1). This hymn was written in the middle of the medieval tradition of teaching bible stories to the uneducated peasants by using music. Though we sing this text in English today, the original manuscript was written in a combination of Latin and German. Though not much is known about this hymn, the translator, however, is very well known.
                John Mason Neale was known as one of the most prominent translators of hymns from Latin, Greek, or other languages to English. One of his most famous translations is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” which was written in the eighth century, but translated by Neale in 1851 (, par.1). For more information on J.M. Neale, see “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”

The Text:
(1)    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!

(2)    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 hath ope'd the heav'nly door
                And man is blessed evermore
                Christ was born for this
                Christ was born for this

(3)    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

My take on the Text:
                This text is fairly clear and easy to interpret. The text talks of the gratefulness that all men should have for Christ’s arrival on Earth. The three verses celebrate the three different stages of Christ’s birth, the first of which is the news of his arrival, the second, the fulfillment of prophecy and proving that Christ has come to save us, and the third, we have nothing to fear now that our savior has come. The Christmas season is always a beautiful time, full of life, love, and family, but we cannot forget that miracle of Christ’s birth. By giving us a young child, we were all humbled simultaneously. By the king of the heavens being brought down in the form of an innocent baby, who held no standing, who had no form of earthly power, who was born outside of town in a dirty manger, God has shown us that the last shall be first in the kingdom of heaven. Getting back to the happier message of the text, we should all be thankful that God has sent us his son. Christmas is a reminder that even though Christ was born 2,000 years ago, we can still spread the news of great joy and of peace that has come to us all. Christ is born in us each and every day, and we can live out our lives spreading the news that we have been saved by a child, and that we have been given the greatest gift of all, God’s everlasting love and the promise of life eternal, fulfilled by the birth of Christ!

The hymn:

if you cannot read music, just start the youtube video and follow along!


Julian, John. "Good Christian Men, Rejoice." Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 4th Nov. 2013. <>.

Unknown. "Joseph Klug." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <>.

Julian, John. "J. M. Neale." - Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <>.

Collins, Evan. "Etymology of Hymns." : O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. N.p., 24 Nov. 2012. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <>.

"Good Christian Men Rejoice." GOOD CHRISTIAN MEN REJOICE Lyrics ***. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2013. <>.