Mary Logue was the scheduled speaker at semi-programmed meeting for worship on December 27, 2015.
Be of good cheer!
When I thought about giving a short talk today, two days after Christmas, I was struck by this phrase and specifically, the word “cheer.” I wondered what it meant — exactly? I decided to find out — what I came up with was three other interesting words — comfort, courage and gladness. The last is the word I most closely associate with “cheer.” Cheer up! Usually means “Be Happy!” But the other two definitions are well worth looking at.
This phrase comes up three times in the new testament of the Christian bible.
John 16:33 — ”These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome.”
Matthew 14:27 — “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.”
Acts 27:25 KJV — “Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”
And if we substitute the word comfort, as in “take comfort” we can see that even though the world is full of sorrow, we can, at the same time that we recognize and feel this sorrow, we can feel comforted, we can be at peace.
I knew I would have to speak today and in my family we celebrate Christmas three times: Peter and I have put our Christmas celebration first, having a nice meal with a fire and presents on what we call Christmas eve eve, then the Hautman crew comes over Christmas eve — 13 people to feast, much chaos and commotion, then the Logue celebration Christmas night, then yesterday utter collapse. But through all of this, I tried to be of good cheer.
Thing are not well in the world — as it has ever been. We have war and pestilence, we have greed and anger, we have fleeing refugees and innocent people killed by guns. This is all true. But it is not the whole truth.
So let’s go to the second definition of cheer, which is “courage.” I suppose not many people think of themselves as courageous as they are drinking eggnog and eating fruitcake — but aren’t we taking on the whole world and saying, Yes, I know not all is right, but in this time of greatest darkness we can “be of good cheer.” We can have the courage to be glad of all we have, our families, our friends, our community, our meetings, our food, our drink, our animals, the snow, even the barren beauty of this time of year.
So let us be comforted, let us be courageous, let us be glad. In spite of everything, or because of everything, this amazing tumultuous world we live:
Please, Be of good cheer.