(The First Noel by Day of Eternity)
Our English carol “The First Noel” was first published in a book titled Carols Ancient and Modern, edited by William Sandys in 1823. The message of the song is the joyous pronouncement that the King of Israel has been born. When we sing the song or wish someone a joyous noel, we are following the example of the angels, announcing the good news that Jesus Christ was born, not just for Israel, but for all mankind, so we could receive forgiveness of sins through Him.
The word Noel has several meanings: ‘shout of joy’, ‘birth’, ‘Christmas season’, and even ‘news‘. It reminds of the good news the Angels brought to shepherds in the field tending their sheep. The Christmas season is a time of great joy because it announces the coming of the Savior for all who will receive Him. For centuries it has been a favorite hymn at Christmas time for these very reasons – a reminder that there is yet hope for all.
In these days as there seems to be a barely discernible refrain of disaster wafting through the air, we need to hear once again the hopeful message of Noel. It reminds us that no matter what the financial troubles that may be just around the corner, or the drums of war that are constantly beating in distant lands, or the bad news of sickness that may assail us, or any other malady that the news constantly reminds us of, or even the warnings of judgment the Bible is faithful to alert us to – there is still the refrain of Noel going forth to mankind promising hope to all who will receive it.
Noel is the joyous news of the Messiah’s birth who is our shalom – our peace. I wish you all the shalom of Christmas this year.