By Tammy Phillips
“I know that nothing [is] better
for them than to rejoice,
and to do good in their lives,
and also, that every man
should eat and drink and enjoy
the good of all his labor—
it is the gift of God.” (Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 NKJV)
I have seen “MERRY AND BRIGHT” EVERYWHERE since I read this verse and started this encouragement. I could only laugh when I saw the words on a big sign in our hotel lobby! I have seen them on shirts, mugs, ornaments. I suppose as much as I love, “Falala,” MERRY AND BRIGHT are the 2021 words for the season for me. I cannot seem to run away from them.
Where does “MERRY AND BRIGHT” have to do with Ecclesiastes 3:12-13? Glad you asked. It comes from a treasure hunt of the word rejoice. Early in life, I would ask my stepfather what a word meant. He would curtly say, “Look it up!” I do not know if it was because he didn’t know the answer or because he wanted me to learn the meaning. I have learned the love and joy of the treasure hunt in looking up the meaning of words in the Hebrew and Greek. There is usually an explosion of light and meaning in the words. For instance, “rejoice” is the Hebrew word, samah, which means be glad; cheer up; be merry; brighten up. You got it. Rejoice means “Be MERRY AND BRIGHT!”
“A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance…” (Proverbs 15:13 NKJV)
Solomon, said to be the wisest man ever, declared that nothing is better than to be merry and bright! He also followed that statement up with do good in your lives, eat drink, and enjoy what you have worked for. Do good; eat, and drink. Be MERRY AND BRIGHT. It is the gift of God. God expects and want us to work hard. The fruit of that labor is to enjoy life. It our choice. We can choose to be merry. We can choose to be bright, or we can choose to be a fright. “Merry and Bright” is a gift of God and it’s ours for the taking.
Why do you think we say, “Merry Christmas?” We encourage others with our words. We urge others to enjoy the season and to celebrate Jesus.
“‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to You’ was the verse that was shown on the first commercially available Christmas card in 1843. Christmases has been merry long before that though. The use of ‘Merry Christmas’ as a seasonal-salutation dates back to at least 1534, when, on 22nd December, Bishop John Fisher wished the season’s greetings in a letter to Thomas Cromwell, recorded in Strype Ecclesiastical memorials, 1816):
‘And this our Lord God send you a Merry Christmas, and a comfortable, to your heart’s desire.’” (https://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/merry-christmas.html)
I enCOURAGE you not to get caught up in the nonsense of the season. We just have to keep focus on the reason, Jesus! Spread the joy. Enjoy your gifts! Share you gifts! Share Jesus! Be MERRY & BRIGHT! And don’t forget, “Merry Christmas!”
“A merry heart does good, [like] medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22 NKJV)