The First Noel

Thursday, December 23, 2021
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "The First Nowell"1 (Lyrics)

Of all the traditions of the holiday season, I think that my favourite is Christmas music. Certainly, I love the sparkle of lights, the glow of candles, the fragrance of freshly baked cookies, the crunch of snow, and the joy of family gatherings. But Christmas carols keep my heart singing throughout the entire Christmas season.

One of my favourite carols, The First Noel, tells of the angels' proclamation of the birth of the newborn King Jesus. The English word Noel or Nowell is from the French word Noël that means Christmas and can be traced further back to the Latin word natalis, which means birthday. We all know the words to this carol:

    The first Noel the angel did say
    Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay;
    In fields where they lay keeping their sheep,
    On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
    Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel,
    Born is the King of Israel!

The Christmas story tells that us a single angel made the announcement of Jesus' birth to a group of shepherds:

Luke 2:9-12 – An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." (NIV 2011)

The narrative goes on, though, to say:

Luke 2:13-14 – Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." (NIV 2011)

Most of us envision a mental picture of a huge angelic choir singing God's praises, but the Scripture states that they were saying the words. I can't imagine them not singing! Maybe that is reserved for humans — who knows! What I can imagine is something like the idea of a football stadium full of thousands of cheering fans chanting their encouragement of the home team.

However the angels conveyed their message, the message was clear: God's Son had come to earth as a tiny Baby. We, too, can convey this message at this festive time of year.

Christmas music today usually falls into one of two categories: Santa Claus and jingle bells, or Christmas carols and more classical music. By far, I prefer the more solemn, sacred style of music, and greatly enjoy choirs, bells, and carolling. Christmas carols themselves are a means of conveying — through both words and musical notes — the message of the gift that God gave to the whole world. As we sing these carols from our hearts, we are passing on this good news. Let's spread the news with great joy.

Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank You for Your gift of Your own Son. This priceless gift provides eternal life and joy everlasting. May we be glad to pass on this good news to those around us. Amen.

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About the author:

Gail Lundquist <>
Beaverton, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen Gail.

    Thank you.

    Thanks for sharing, Gail. Have a Merry Christmas.

    Yay for sharing your research and experience, Gail! Have a joyous Christmas!

    As always, Gail, your devotional hits the spot. Christmas music and hymns of the church are the best way for me to remember scripture.
    Merry Christmas to you and those you love.

    Just attended for the first time in two years the Messiah, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Mendelssohn Choir rejoicing in scripture and Handel’s music the birth of Jesus, Saviour and Lord.

    Thanks for another of your special devotionals Gail. I too enjoy the Christmas music as it relates to the great joy of Christ’s birth and how He is the greatest gift to us and the world around us. Blessings for your writings and may you and your family enjoy a most blessed Christmas time.

    Good morning, Gail,
    I am with you; I love the CHRISTMAS hymns. The Rudolph and Santa songs don’t move me that much.
    In searching for some good Christmas music I found some on YouTube. Wonderful music. Glory to God in the highest for sure.
    We wish you and yours a Blessed Christmas.

    MERRY CHRISTMAS, Gail!!! I totally agree with your joyful message, and I even wear a NOEL pair of earrings, also pairs of JOY, my personal theme this Christmas!!! I have made many J O Y needlepoint hangings tassel hanging at the bottom. Along with one of those, I have a JOY pillow.
    God bless you and yours in special and surprising ways.

    Dear Gail,
    Thanks for the awesome Devotional today, I tpo love the old church Christmas carols as well as some new one. We are so Blessed to be able to join in singing these great hymns and hear Christmas music.
    Thanks again for your great Devotionals.
    Christmas Blessings to you and your family.
    May we all remember the true meaning of the Advent Season.

    Good morning, Gail,
    It is good to reflect on all the traditions of Christmas and it is proven that singing lifts our spirits. When we sing, I think we also lift the spirits of others around us. Interesting point about the angels saying the words because I also picture they are singing their message.
    In our town each Christmas there is usually a carol singing night and before the carol we hear a little of the history of the carol and the person who wrote it. Of course that has not happened now for 2 years, and I do miss it. Also included was an older person sharing a little of their Christmas when they were younger.
    Thank you for sharing a little of your Christmas and wishing you a joyful season of singing. Blessings.


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