‘The First Noel’ is an old classical English folk carol which was first published in 1823. The word “Noel”, or its variant spelling “Nowell”, is an old way of saying “Christmas”. The refrain of the song calls for the joyful celebration of Christmas because the King of Israel was born on Christmas day.
As we listen to the first stanza of ‘The First Noel’, we hear of the shepherds who were watching over their flocks. They saw an angel come from heaven to tell them the good news of the birth of the Saviour. How amazing that must have been!
The next four stanzas speak of the experience of the magi from the East. They saw the star that signified the birth of Jesus. They were led by it day and night to a “house” in Bethlehem where Jesus was.
What did the magi do upon arriving? In the fifth stanza, we hear how they paid homage to the child and recognised Him for who He was. They bowed down with reverence and worshipped him on their knees. They also presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
As we hear the final stanza, let our hearts rise together to worship and thank God for what He has done for us through Christ. God has redeemed us from our sins with the blood that was shed on the cross by Jesus, the One who was born on Christmas Day.
When we sing ‘The First Noel’, may our voice of gratitude and joy ring loud and clear as God brings people back to Him.
Father God, thank you for sending Jesus on the First Noel! Just as the magi paid homage and worshipped Jesus, we bow our hearts now to the King whose shed blood has redeemed us from our sins. Thank you for being our Saviour!