HAPPILY EVER AFTER
AN AMAZING FACT: A poem written to celebrate a wedding is called an epithalamium.
In ancient Greece, to celebrate a wedding, a poem filled with blessings and predictions of happiness was written in honor of the bride and groom. Boys and girls sang the song for the happy couple at the door of the nuptial chamber. The custom spread to the Romans, and eventually the classical poets developed the epithalamium into a special literary form, which then spread to the French, Italians, and English. Even Tennyson wrote an epithalamium, in honor of his sister’s wedding. Eventually the term evolved to cover musical works—like Wagner’s Bridal March in Lohengrin—and Italian Renaissance paintings depicting Venus and Cupid, gifted to newlyweds to wish them happiness and fertility.
More than once the Bible compares God’s love for His people to that of a bridegroom and the coming of the kingdom of heaven to a wedding celebration. In American culture, Disney-like dreams of a carefree “happily ever after” fill the typical blissful wedding day. But unfortunately, with more than half of all marriages ending in divorce, “happily ever after” remains a fairy-tale just out of reach.
Praise God for the hope of a real Happily Ever After. John received a vision of Christ’s coming, in which an angel said, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” and showed John the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:9). On the day Christ comes to take us to that bright city, we will celebrate a marriage like no other, and there really will be no more sorry, nor crying, nor pain.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. Isaiah 62:5And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:2-4