Noel! Come See What God Has Done!
I was listening to Lauren Daigle sing Noel. Her voice is so powerful and inspiring that it began to fill my heart with excitement and my mind with wonder. Her strong vocals cry out, “Noel! Come see what God has done!” Wow! I began to ponder on what the shepherds must have felt like when they saw the angels after Christ was born. Here is the scripture that relays that account.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. –Luke 2:7-11
Now this word, “Noel” has a Latin root ‘natalis’, which means ‘birth’. The French word ‘nouvelles’ means ‘news’. Then we have the English, ‘nowel’, meaning “shout of joy”. Historically a noel was a joyous herald of a new born baby. It is now almost unique to Christmas and the Christmas Carol and associated with this scripture reference in Luke.
This song, Noel, and the verses strongly associated with it brings some great thoughts to my mind’s eye. When I most often here of this in a sermon much is made of the fear that the shepherds felt. This is quite understandable. God is holy and is not to be toyed with. In ancient times, angels were not perceived like they are now days. These shepherds were not looking at little fat babies flying around with stubby feathered wings, looking down from white, cotton soft clouds, playing miniature harps. In ancient times angels were seen as enforcers of God’s will on man. When an angel appeared, someone was going to receive the judgement of God. They were seen as battle hardened soldiers of the Most High and carried his full authority in the matter they were sent to deal with. They represented God directly. However, I want to take a different look today. What about the herald?
Imagine the excitement that the angels had in being able to announce the arrival of the messiah. The possibly billions of angels that could have been selected to give this message, and God chose them. All of creation moaned and desired deliverance from the bondage of sin and death that was brought into it through the fall of just one man. Now, through the birth of just one man, that very deliverance was now made possible. There was no more waiting. God’s plan from before the beginning of time was starting to unfold before their very eyes, and they were the ones who were to announce to the world, a savior is born. God had now entered the stage!
So now back to Lauren Daigle and Noel. “Noel, Come see what God has done!” This is an amazing event, probably the most amazing event in the history of mankind. God himself became flesh and now dwelt among men. Israel’s king was now preparing for his kingdom. God had just directly intervened in the fate of man. The love of God so compelled him that he could no longer sit on the sidelines and watch the love of his life destroy itself. This wasn’t the first time God intervened.
I can see Adam and Eve proclaiming, “Noel, Come see what God has done!” When God shewn mercy and covered their sin with the skins of the first sacrifice. I can see Noah stepping out of the ark and calling to his children, “Noel, Come see what God has done!” He has saved man from total destruction and turned away from his anger. I can see the angels talking to one another, “Noel, Come see what God has done!” When God shewn mercy at the Tower of Babble and confused the languages instead of condemning man for their rebellion. Then I can see Moses looking on the destruction of the Egyptian army at the Red Sea and telling the children of Israel, “Noel, Come see what God has done!”
Time and time again God has delivered us from destruction. I can think how my own heart declares to all who will listen, “Noel, Come see what God has done!” See how he took this broken vessel and remade it into a new vase. Those of us who have heard others declare this message, “Noel, Come see what God has done!” now have our own message of hope and redemption to share. We can declare to others the love and healing given through the mercies of his love. “Noel, Come see what God has done!”
What God has done is to provide for us, a way to return to fellowship with him. The one who created the universe, thought enough of you to give you the gift of eternal life. Although this gift is free to all who accept it, was not free to God. God had to make a sacrifice that we could not make. He had to sacrifice his only son. This one we call Jesus who is Christ. His birth heralded an event that had never been seen before, nor would it ever repeat. God himself became man, born for the sole purpose of physically dying to make a way for us to live spiritually in the presence of God. “Noel, Come see what God has done!”