This message is a Christmas Carol Sermon – a sermon that connects Scripture with the words of a Christmas carol.
This Christmas carol, one of the oldest, originated in the 16th century. Its author is unknown. It may have been written in direct reaction to the music of the 15th century church. During this period, the songs of organized religion were usually written in Latin and their melodies were somber and dark, offering singers and listeners little joy or inspiration.
In the movie, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Ebenezer Scrooge hears this song sung joyously in the street and tells the singer he’ll hit him with a ruler unless he stops singing. Of course, that wasn’t the intended response. The point is that joy reigns on Christmas Day because of God’s great gift of His Son, Jesus Christ. We can “rest merry” in the knowledge that Christ has secured our salvation by delivering us from the penalty of sin, from the power of sin, and at His second coming, from the very presence of sin as well.