31 Days of Song, Day #2

My "little thing" for today is that I'm thankful for good books.  Right now I'm reading The Journals of Jim Elliot, and though I'm only a few pages into it, I really enjoy it already.  Jim Elliot was such a man after God's own heart.  He was completely sold out for Him.  May God make me like that.

The song I wanted to post for today is "The First Noel".  I fell completely in love with this song last Christmas.  I like it best when it's sung slowly and thoughtfully, but it's so hard to find a version like that!  I finally found this version by Andy Williams.  I like the way he sings it, and also how he has that old-fashioned sound that's so nostalgic.

*And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  Luke 2:8 NIV

No other carol casts such a spell.  The sweet, plaintive strains of "The First Noel," quietly sung on a snow-clad Christmas Eve, bring tears to the eyes and gentle peace to the heart.  "Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel.  Born is the King of Israel."
   If only we knew who wrote it!  It first appeared anonymously in Some Ancient Christmas Carols, published by Davis Gilbert in 1823, and the traditional music evidently came from an unknown source in the west of England.
   The poetry itself is plain.  If we were to recite this rather length piece, we'd get only a garbled sense of the Christmas story.  There's no indication in Scripture, for example, that the shepherds saw the Magi's star.  And the final verse of the original carol seems anticlimatic.  But when combined with its wistful music, the words glow and our hearts are strangely warmed.
   The word noel seems to be a French word with Latin roots: natalis, meaning "birthday."  Modern hymns omit several of the verses.  Here is the complete version.

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.

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.

This star drew nigh to the northwest; o'er Bethlehem it took its rest.
And there it did both stop and stay, right over the place where Jesus lay.

Then they did know assuredly within that house, the King did lie
One entered in then for to see and found the babe in poverty.

Then entered in those wise men three, full reverently, upon bended knee,
And offered there, in His presence, their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

If we in our time do well we shall be free from death and hell
For God hath prepared for us all a resting place in general.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel; Born is the King of Israel.


We put our Christmas tree and decorations up today!  Here's some pictures of the final products.

Our awesome 10-foot Christmas tree.  My mom got it at Salvation Army a year or two ago for $5!

* excerpt taken from "Then Sings My Soul Special Edition" by Robert J. Morgan, pages 22-23

1 comment:

tammy said...

Love your excitement & happiness this Christmas! Makes me sooooo happy!

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