Famous Christmas Carols – Story Behind the Carol – “The First Noel”


After enjoying this beautiful version of the Christmas Carol, “The First Noel”,  and considering how the Lord Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, please take time to read a little of what is known about the word Noel according to Lectionnary Hymn Stories . Also, read a portion of what is found at Got Questions and if you have other questions I highly recommend their web-site.

Did you ever burn a Yule Log at your house? Have you heard how the Yule Log represents Christ triumph of Light over dark? This is just what Jesus Christ did!

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. John 1:1-5

According to Lectionnary Hymn Stories this is the story behind “The First Noel”.

The title of the hymn is “The First Noel.” We sing it every year at Christmastime, but I suspect that not many of us know what a Noel is.  Noel is a French word that come from the Latin word natalis, which means “birth.”  So “The First Noel” is a song about the birth of Jesus.  It is an English carol that was sung by the village people as they brought in the Yule log on Christmas Eve each year.  They would burn the Yule log to symbolize the triumph of light over darkness — a really happy thought in a place like England where the winter days are so short and the winter nights so long.

GotQuestions. Org says:

 “What is the meaning of Noel?”

Answer: Every year, people sing songs like “The First Noel” at Christmas, and many wonder what a “noel” is. In French, joyeux noel means “Merry Christmas.” Our modern English word comes from the Middle English nowel, which Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defined as “a shout of joy or Christmas song.” The roots of the word are the French noel (“Christmas season”), which may come from the Old French nael. This, in turn, is derived from the Latin natalis, meaning “birth.” Since Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ, it was natural for people to refer to the celebration as the “nativity” or the “birth.”

Another possible root for noel, also from the French, is the word nouvelles, meaning “news.” As the popular carol says, “The first noel the angels did say / Was to certain poor shepherds. . . .” The meaning of “news” certainly makes sense in that context; however, the early usage and definition of noel seem to focus more on the idea of birth, and that is probably the more accurate meaning.

The First Noel, the Angels 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!

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

And by the light of that same star
Three Wise men came from country far
To seek for a King was their intent
And to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest
O’er Bethlehem it took its rest
And there it did both Pause and stay
Right o’er the place where Jesus lay.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then entered in those Wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee
And offered there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord
That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

MERRY CHRISTMAS

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About jlue

I am a grandmother of seven and I like to garden, read, study the Bible, and spend time with family. I am not very politically active, but very interested in who is elected to lead our country.
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