My Dad has a book about Christmas Carols and the history behind them (Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins) and I was reading it while I was back home and thought that this particular one was interesting.
We all know how the meaning of certain words have changed over time, and this Christmas carol is no different. The lyrics always bothered me and I never understood why, until tonight. Back when this carol was written, presumably in the 15th century even though the writer is unknown and it wasn't published until the 18th century, the word "rest" meant to keep or to make, and the word "merry" meant mighty or great. So really when the song is sung it should sound more like "God make you mighty, gentlemen". Really, if you think about it, the meaning ads a lot more to the song. It becomes more of a charge than just a traditional praise, and encouragement in the Lord. Now that I have the correct meaning behind the words of the song it will probably become one of my favorites.
Anyway, I found that point interesting and thought I'd share it with those of you that might feel the same way. I love learning new things like this, I'm just sorry it took me so long to put up.
I need to stay up on my fact finding too.