We sing it year after year, but only now did I think about it — Why is the song called The First Nowell* when there has only ever been one Nowell? Noel or Christmas is given to no other event other than that one-time miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. Why would the author of the traditional English Carol call it the “first”?
Could it be that this First Noel is first, because it is the premier, primary, most important birth that mankind would ever know? It is in that birth, after all, that the King of kings was introduced to a lost and dying world.
This simple song, tells the complete story in a few lines:
- The first Nowell 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.
- For all to see there was 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 the wise men came from country far; to seek for a king was their intent, and to follow the star wherever it went.
- Then let us all with one accord sing praises to our heavenly Lord who hath made heav’n and earth of naught, and with His blood mankind hath bought.
Yes, this is the one and only Noel when shepherds saw a star of great light, which was seen and followed by wise men from the east. This is the Noel which leads us to sing praises to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who made the universe out of nothing and bought us, saved us with his blood.
This is the story of Christmas. Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell. Born is the King of Israel.
There is no other. Nothing compares. May this simple song of truth lead us all to bow in worship to The King.
*WORDS and MUSIC: Traditional English Carol