The Dave Version
David wrote us and said:
Your interpretation of the meaning of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman” is incorrect. Merry in the old english of this carol did not mean “Happy” it meant “Mighty” or “Powerful” (Think Robin Hoods Merry Men – They weren’t happy because they were wearing tights you know they were a powerful fighting unit) The word “Rest” in the old english also meant to invest a property in or in other words to “make”
So the first line of the carol in modern English would be “God Make You Mighty Gentlemen” Similarly, the term “Merry Christmas” means have a “Powerful” Christmas. Kind of gives the phrase a whole new meaning doesn’t it?
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (Bill Clinton Version)