Weekly Update: Merry Christmas!
DECEMBER 21, 2018
Every week in this newsletter we update you on our activities in Washington and around the country. There’s another word for this information – tidings, which means news. It’s a term usually trotted out only at Christmas time.
And then it takes on lustrous connotations.
In the English carol, “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” we find these lyrics:
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.
Good tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
The word appears in another English carol, “God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen.”
God rest you merry, Gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
For Jesus Christ our Saviour
Was born upon this Day.
To save poor souls from Satan’s power,
Which long time had gone astray.
Which brings tidings of comfort and joy.
As you might have noted above, in the earliest versions of the carol’s first line the comma was in a different place than it is today. Because of the way people understood the word rest several hundred years ago, inserting the comma after “God rest you merry” created the meaning of “God keep you pleasant, bountiful, and prosperous.”
There’s a related word, tide, which means a season. Thus we have Christmastide, which, like tidings, we don’t use often today.
I’ve taken this etymological journey to arrive here: Amid all the bad news, and fake news, in our time, we can still celebrate the Good News of this season. We can recall that some things haven’t changed since the first Christmas, which was darkened by a wicked ruler, crooked tax assessors, and an unborn child at risk. And life was no easier centuries later when these carols were written. What is important is that there was, and still is, Good News to celebrate.
At this Christmastide I am grateful that all of us here at Judicial Watch can say to all of you, our friends and supporters, “God keep you pleasant, bountiful, and prosperous.”