The 14th century word Noel, derived from the Old French, means Christmas. Although it is the name of an album, a city in Missouri, a ghost town in Wisconsin, a community in Nova Scotia, a Columbian cookie manufacturer, and even a hurricane, it is most commonly known as the title of a popular carol.
The First Noel lyrics paint a beautiful setting of the angels appearing to the poor shepherds in fields as they lay. Why were lower class, somewhat smelly shepherds chosen to hear the announcement first? Perhaps because their response was perfect!
They listened to the spiritual news of the long awaited Messiah’s arrival, accepted and embraced this truth in their hearts immediately, and acted upon their beliefs by making haste to Bethlehem. If we could have followed them we would have arrived at the stable and worshipped Christ.
Much can be missed at Christmas however, if we focus only on the nativity. When Christ came at Christmas he was much more than a babe in a manger. He was our YES to salvation, offering His pure life for our sin.
His birth demonstrated that God the Father had said YES to humanity and chosen to love us enough to sacrifice his only Son to create a way for us to be reconciled to Him and choose eternal life by saying YES to Him as our Savior.
But God’s NO was equally as powerful. As the Light of the World the star above signified that the birth of Jesus meant NO more darkness. The hope His life brought to others meant NO more despair. His truth and grace brought the ability for Christians to say NO to sin and hypocrisy in their lives.
His later resurrection meant death would NO longer triumph over life. His promised presence in our lives today equates to NO more loneliness for us. His great forgiveness helps us NO longer hold onto grudges and hurts. His tremendous love comforts us in times of tragedy and NO longer lets us sink into sadness indefinitely.
It’s interesting that El was a Hebraic term for God, as in in Elohim. This Christmas do you “know” El? His yes and no can change your life.