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The First Nowell

November 18, 2019

 

The First Nowell (The First Noel) dates back hundreds of years, many scholars believe that it orginates from the 16th or 17th century, but it could be as early as the 13th, although there is some disagreement about the origin of the song. It is generally thought to be English, but a popular misconception exists that the First Noel was French and it is believed that this is because of the French spelling of Noel as opposed to the olde English Anglo-Saxon spelling of the word as in Nowell. The First Noel was first published in 1833 when it appeared in "Christmas Carols Ancient and Modern," a collection of seasonal carols gathered by William B. Sandys.

 

The First Nowell paints a narrative of the birth of Jesus in regard to the Three Wise Mens' pilgrimage to Bethlehem. Jesus is often referred to as the King of Israel, and the Messiah of the Jews. God had promised throughout the Old Testament to deliver unto his people a Messiah. Israel was under Roman reign with King Herod at the throne at the time of Jesus' birth. 

 

The first verse of the song pays homage to the Annunciation of the Shepherds from Luke 2:11-2, where an angel tells the shepherds that the Messiah has arrived, and can be found in the town of David, laying in a manger, wrapped in cloths. 

 

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.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

 

Born is the King of Israel!

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.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

 

Born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest

O'er Bethlehem it took its rest

And there it did both

Pause and stay

Right o'er the place where Jesus lay.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

 

Born is the King of Israel!

Then entered in those Wise men three

Full reverently upon their knee

And offered there in His presence

Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

 

Born is the King of Israel!

Then let us all with one accord

Sing praises to our heavenly Lord

That hath made Heaven and earth of nought

And with his blood mankind has bought.

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel

Born is the King of Israel!

 

 


 

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