URC Daily Devotion 5th January 2023

5 January 2023 

Gaudete
 

It is believed that the sacred Christmas carol ‘Gaudete’  was composed in the 16th century and was first published in  Piae Cantiones, a collection of Finnish/Swedish sacred songs dating to 1581. ‘Gaudete’ is written in a style typical of a mediaeval song of praise with a series of four-line stanzas, each preceded by a two-line refrain.  “Gaudete” means “rejoice”.  You can listen to Steeleye Span’s version of it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDc2FD-vy8M

Gaudete, gaudete! Christus est natus
Ex Maria virgine, gaudete!

Tempus adest gratiæ
Hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina lætitiæ
Devote reddamus.

2: Deus homo factus est
Natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.

3: Ergo nostra contio
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.

(translation)

Rejoice, rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the Virgin Mary –
Rejoice!

The time of grace has come—
What we have wished for;
Songs of joy
Let us give back faithfully.

2: God has become man,
With nature marvelling,
The world has been renewed
By the reigning Christ.

3. Therefore let our assembly
Now sing in brightness
Let it bless the Lord
Salvation to our king.

Philippians 4: 4 – 7

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.  Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.  And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Reflection

Stamp your feet, sing out loud, Gaudete!  Catch the rhythm of the angels as they dance in ecstasy over the stable.  Sing joyfully, Christ is born!  And for a moment we are transported into the heavenly realm.  It’s Christmas!
 
But can such joy in the Lord last? Surely, when we are terrified about mortgages, prices and pensions, and a host of other things besides, it is impossible to experience joy!  Without trivialising such concerns, Paul shows his hearers the way.  He summons us not to the joy that one “has” or “feels”, but to the joy that comes with Christian hope, in which we may be comforted, strengthened and encouraged.  For “the Lord is near.”  Like the Philippians, we are to set anxiety aside, not just by worshipping, praying and laying our troubles before God, but by doing these things with thanksgiving.  As we cast our care on God we give God the glory.  And so we find peace in the core of our being, peace in Christ Jesus. 
 
This joy is available today for all who commit themselves to Christ.

Every time we celebrate the eucharist and commemorate his victory over death, we sing the angels’ song, and proclaim that it is our duty and our joy at all times and in all places to give God thanks and praise. Gaudete!
 
Prayer
 
Gracious God,
we praise you for the glad tidings of peace,
the good news of salvation,
your Word made flesh.
As we celebrate his birth,
enlighten us with the radiance of his glory,
that the world might know the light
no darkness can ever extinguish.
In his name we pray.   Amen

 

 

 

Today’s writer

The Rev’d Fleur Houston, retired minister, member of Macclesfield and Bollington United Reformed Church

Copyright

New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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