Pastor Jim's Blog

Understanding the Christmas Carol

We are now in the third week of Advent. Those who practice this tradition will be lighting the candle of joy. One of the oldest carols that speak of joy at this season is God Rest You Merry Gentlemen.

I was intrigued by the old carol and thought I would do a little research.

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.

According to Wikipedia, this is one of the oldest existing carols, dating back to the 16th century or earlier. The earliest known printed edition of the carol is in a broadsheet dated to c.1760. 

The grammar and word meanings have changed significantly since it was first published. Those singing this carol in the church may interpret the word rest as “peace”, while those hearing this song in the mall may hear the word rest as “ceasing from labor.” It seems both are incorrect. The word “rest” in this carol meant “to keep, cause to continue to remain”; pointedly different than its present day meaning.

The second word of interest is the word, “merry”. I have always thought this word meant, as we understand it today, joyful, happy, living in a state of bliss as someone one who doesn’t understand how bad things really are. Not so, merry in this context meant “pleasant, bountiful, and prosperous. Thus, Dickens in his classic A Christmas Carol, changed the verb rest to bless in his 1843 quote of the incipit as "God bless you, merry gentlemen". But even Dickens, it seems, had the meaning askew from its original intent. We could interpret this first line of the song to say, May God keep you in a continual state of prosperity, experiencing a pleasant and bountiful existence, letting nothing in life cause you dismay.

Reason for this optimism - Jesus Christ was born, our ever comfort and joy.

As we consider the stress in the world, the challenges we face day to day, and the pain that we cannot escape, the writer is declaring we can have optimism. Not deluded, ill advised, or uninformed reason for optimism, but one that has its roots in the historical birth of Jesus. This is the one who broke Satan’s power. Thus, we can be living in a perpetual state of blessing, experiencing comfort and joy, despite what is happening in the world around us and in my life.

What a far cry of the modern-day Christmas theme. I would encourage you to light a candle of Joy and sing this song as you do. Taking the words to heart,

"Fear not, then," said the angel,

"Let nothing you affright;

This day is born a Savior

Of a pure virgin bright,

To free all those who trust in him

From Satan's power and might."

And live your life in optimism and joy.

I look forward to seeing you on Sunday.


On Sunday, January 6th we will be having baptisms for followers of Jesus. This is for those that are choosing to put their past behind them and follow Jesus. Baptism is a one-time act, but then it requires of us to put our past behind us every day thereafter. If you have not been baptized as an adult and are choosing to make Jesus your Lord and are desirous to be a follower of Him, then you are a candidate for baptism. Email me and we can discuss this with you.

Growth Groups

The new year will be coming upon us soon! We have opportunity for you to start the new year off on the right foot by trying something new and life giving! Group sign ups are now open for the January 3rd start up. 

Groups meet once a week in home environments on Wednesday and/or Thursday nights. We delve into connecting deeper with each other and God by sharing our personal lives, studying based on the previous Sunday’s sermon.  Times are also designated for service projects and social times.

If you are interested in either facilitating a group or hosting in your home, please contact the church.

To sign up, simply call the church office 352.1722, email or sign up on Sunday at the church information table.

Christmas Eve Dinner

Join us and invite friends and family to this wonderful and fun Christmas eve free turkey dinner with all the fixin’s. Monday, Dec 24 at KCF. Doors open at 4:45 pm

For volunteer opportunities, please contact the KCF office.

Our Daily Bread

Our Christmas Mail out campaign is in full swing and we have been blessed every day with an abundance of generous donations. It is so wonderful to see how many people joyously and faithfully support and care for the people of Nelson and area. We want to say a huge Thank You to all those who have donated and that give of their time, prayers and resources to support this vital ministry.

Please join with us as we pray that a minimum of $40,000 is raised for the operational needs of Our Daily Bread.

If you have not donated yet, please consider doing so today. You can make a significant impact with a hungry person by donating to Our Daily Bread in Nelson, BC. We have seniors, children, women, young and older people come for food, community and support. Individual lives have been changed forever by the love shown at Our Daily Bread. Please help someone today by donating $100 or what ever you can online at Our Daily Bread Nelson Hot Lunch program. Thank you for supporting those that need it.

Volunteer Opportunities at ODB

Are you seeking more purpose in your life, and wanting to give back and contribute to the community in a hands-on way?

ODB has an ongoing daily need (Mon-Fri) for volunteers ranging from helping in the kitchen, general building/property upkeep or cleaning up after the lunch. Clean up begins at 1pm and is completed by 2pm.  

Why not come in to ODB, enjoy a great hot lunch, good company and then help clean up. 

S.H.A.R.E. Nelson

Need a new wardrobe? Looking for some Winter clothes? Want to know how to get a good deal on some great items? WE NOW HAVE CLOTHES AT S.H.A.R.E. Nelson. Check it out!

Follow us on our Facebook page and don’t miss out on any sales.

S.H.A.R.E. is accepting and receiving donations and new items are being put out for sale every day. If you would like to volunteer at S.H.A.R.E. we currently have great opportunities.  Call the store at 250.352.1222 or stop by the store to inquire.  Click on this link to check out S.H.A.R.E.’s video! Check out our FB page.

Calendar of Events

  • Bright Lights After School Club, Tuesdays at 3:30 – 5:15pm, Call Doreen for information 354-2077
  • Christmas Eve free community dinner. Monday, December 24, 5pm at KCF.
  • Baptism Sunday, January 6th

Visit our website at for all the news, sermons, and places to donate.

Pastor Jim

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December 14, 2018

Celebration: Sunday: 10:25am - 12pm

Kootenay Christian Fellowship
520 Falls Street (1/2 Block up from Baker Street)
Nelson, BC  V1L 6B5