To Love & To Lead: Staff Discussions

The First Noel

Posted on Dec 13, 2016 by Amber Gill, Expressions Writing Ministry


The First Noel,

Old English Carol -

traditional melody from W. Sandys Christmas Carols, 1833

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

Imagine the first Christmas when God, Himself, was born. The thought has often come to my mind ever since I was a teenager. He was born away from home in a stable the innkeeper gave Mary and Joseph. Was Mary nervous when she had pain?  She was in a town where she knew no one.  What were the animals doing?  Were they eating? Had they just fallen asleep and were awakened by noisy humans?  Was another mother so busy feeding her young, she could not even give the visitors a one-eyed wink?

Above a field of sheep, the heavens burst its seams, filled with pure joy. Out of nowhere an angel of God gave shepherds a shock of a lifetime! Imagine a shepherd having a quiet night and then, out of the blue, a bright army of angels appeared singing with heartfelt delight. In those days, being a shepherd represented something dirty: dirty in character, unpleasant, or the lowest one could go.  Doesn’t it sound just like our Lord to use the “wrong” set of people to help others see? The shepherds were so shaken when they went to see the child, they left their flocks behind. They left their jobs to go worship.  Amazingly, the first praises on earth for God’s son were from what the world would call “dirty.”  

Later wise men from the East started a journey to find the new King. They had seen God’s star years before their arrival. It’s amazing they knew the significance of God’s star. Do we see the star today? To follow a star means traveling only at night. That seems like a slow way to travel. Once again, the star appeared, and the wise men knocked on a door in Bethlehem. How surprising would it be finding for Mary to find people with gifts at her door? People who had searched for her and knew her child was the only child of God. All they wanted to do was worship. How extraordinary! What wonderful words of praise must have filled God’s heart?  The wise men’s joy knew no bounds opening their gifts for God of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

The mind can wonder how God’s birth came to be. In each Christmas moment never forget to stop and give Him praise. Don’t be afraid. The angels were so overcome with joy that they opened a dark sky just so a few poor shepherds would know. Why not the world as well?  No one’s life is too messy, too far away (as the wise men), unpleasant, or too dirty (as the shepherd’s) to praise and give thanks. All you need is an open, willing heart.

Praise to the One who came so that we can have a new life ourselves.  My prayer is that you may bring your own gifts and praises toward heaven to the child who saved us.

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