Tag Archives: birth of Jesus

Favorite Christmas Hymns: an everlasting light

Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel;
Born is the King of Israel!

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. – Matthew 1.21 NIV

Every time this son is played, I’m reminded of a time in my childhood….the glass-spun star looping over the shepherds heads as they had just heard the angels sing of Christ’s birth. I remember watching them all scramble to their feet, with their handmade staffs in tow, holding onto their sashes in fear that their costumes would fall off if they didn’t. Children rushing to the make-shift manger holding a doll that represented Jesus, just to catch a glimpse of what it may have been like for those real shepherds; for the real Mary and Joseph.

The imagination of a child is an amazing thing. I feel blessed in the fact that I’ve managed to hold on to some of mine. I remember what it was like and how easy it was to simply believe. No questions.

It simply was.

It simply still is.

It is widely known that Noel is the French word for Christmas, but do you know the origin of the word? Noel comes from the Latin words natalis, meaning “birth.” Therefore, the title of the hymn, fully translated, is “The First Birth.”

This song is about the Nativity Story, the birth of Jesus as we see in the Bible. Angels came to Joseph and Mary, telling them “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Jesus came to save us from our sings. That is what this season is about: the remembrance of this birth and the life of Jesus. He was born here, lived here, died here and was raised again here, all so that we could have life and a new way to have a relationship with God.

This song reminds of the hopes and expectations of salvation that came with the birth of Jesus, and serves to remind us that, no matter where we find ourselves in our lives right now, that this Jesus was here, and we will always have hope in that. This is a chance to celebrate not only the newness of his life, but an opportunity to start your life over with new birth (“You must be born again” 9 John 3.74)).

Whatever sin, whatever shortcoming, whatever failure, whatever weakness, whatever reason you have, a child was born and he has come to save you.

December 21: ancient of days

The Pilate said to him, “So are you a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world – to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” John 18.37

This is a great Christmas text even though it comes from the end of Jesus’ life on earth, not the beginning.

The uniqueness of his birth is that he did not originate at his birth. He existed before he was born in a manger. The personhood, the character, the personality of Jesus of Nazareth existed before the man Jesus of Nazareth was born.

The theological word to describe this mystery is not creation, but incarnation. The person – not the body, but the essential personhood of Jesus – existed before he was born as man. His birth was not a coming into being of a new person, but a coming into the world of an infinitely old person.

Micah 5.2 puts it like this, 700 years before Jesus was born:

But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.

The mystery of the birth of Jesus is not merely that he was born of a virgin. That miracle was intended by God to witness an even greater one – namely, that the child born at Christmas was a person who existed “from of old, from ancient days.”

© Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org