Today’s Christmas carol is ‘The First Noel’. This a traditional classical English carol that is most likely from the early modern period, although possibly earlier. ’Noel’ is an early-modern English synonym of ‘Christmas’.
‘The First Noel’ is of Cornish origin. Its current form was first published in ‘Carols Ancient and Modern’ (1823) and ‘Gilbert and Sandy’s Carrols’ (1833), both of which were edited by William Sandys and arranged, edited and with extra lyrics written by Davies Gilbert for ‘ Hymns and Carols of God’.
Whenever I think about the title of this hymn, ‘The First Noel’ meaning ‘The First Christmas’, I instantly start to imagine what it must have been like to have been there ‘at the start’, so to speak.
For any Christian to be faced with the omnipotence and face-to-face presence of God after having lived a good and wholesome life would naturally leave them in complete awe. But to see an infant born in the poorest of circumstances, and whose parents had travelled from another place might not receive the same response. And yet, although ‘The Nativity’ first took place in a stable in the town of Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, never one day passes when the scene isn’t re-enacted somewhere else in the world as migrants travel from land to land with a child in their arms and hope in their hearts, only to find that there is no place at the inn for them.
However little material wealth we may consider ourselves to have, we usually have much more than we need to get by. This Christmas time, please spare a prayer and a dime for all those poorer people of society, especially those who are visitors to a strange land. We may not speak the same mother tongue but there is only one language God understands, that language which all people who behave Christian-like should know by heart; the language of peace, love, compassion, and understanding.
Sheila and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. xx
Love and peace Bill xxx