The other day I heard this incredible song “Noel” written by Chris Tomlin and featuring Lauren Daigle with these beautiful lyrics…
Come and see what God has done
The story of amazing love!
The light of the world, given for us
Son of God and Son of man
There before the world began
Born to suffer, born to save
Born to raise us from the grave
Christ the everlasting Lord
He shall reign forevermore
It says it all! Jesus was “Born to suffer, born to save” and is the “Christ the everlasting Lord” who will “reign forevermore.” I have been listening to this song over and over, just enjoying the truth behind these lyrics! But it did get me thinking…What does Noel even mean? Have you ever thought of that? Each year we sing the lyric in The Christmas Song and The First Noël, but until this year I never looked what the meaning was. It’s interesting when I did a google search; I found several different definitions and variations which surprised me. In an article, Chris Tomlin explained it this way:
“The word ‘Noel’ is derived from the French phrase ‘Les bonnes nouvelles’ meaning ‘the good news.’”
When I looked it up in my grandfather’s 1966 Edition of Webster’s Dictionary and found this definition:
So between the two, one could say that Noel is an expression of joy as a result of the “Good News” that the savior of the world was born! In the post, ★ Day 15 – Reason for the Season – A Shepherd’s View of Christmas ★ we discussed Luke 2:10-11 when the Angels made the proclamation to the Shepherds about the birth of Jesus:
“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.’”
You can read the full account in Luke 2:8-15. The birth of Jesus is “Good News” and for those who believe in God’s Son, there should be great expressions of joy on our part! The other night the temperature dropped below freezing, which for Texas is quote unusual. We had a beautiful fire roaring and so we cuddled up on the couch to watch the modern day Christmas classic…”Elf” starring Will Ferrell. I am not a big fan of his movies but I never get tired of this slapstick comedy! As the 5th highest grossing Christmas movie of all-time (according to Box Office Mojo,) the 2003 blockbuster hit that follows the lovable, exuberant elf named Buddy (played by Will Ferrell,) who left the North Pole to meet his real father in NYC after finding out he’s really not an elf. The movie is full of great lines but one of my favorites is the after Buddy inadvertently insults a writer and gets beat up for his naivety.
Okay that had no relevance to my point, I just loved that scene. But the point that I did want to make is that the joyful outlook that Buddy had towards Santa and Christmas is how I believe should be towards Jesus! Wouldn’t have been awesome to have heard this in the movie!
Could you imagine if that much joy could be channeled in service of Jesus? How different would this world be? Elf also inspired to share this in the Shepherd’s View of Christmas post which Buddy also said:
Now I am not saying that singing loudly will change the world’s problems, but rather when we embrace the “Good News” of Jesus will spur us on. As we discussed in the last post, “feelings are not faith.” If we wait to help people when we “feel” like it, it may not happen; but when we have the love of Jesus in our hearts we will be motivated to action by something far greater than feelings…MISSION! What is the mission? Isaiah 61:1-2 (NLT) says:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.”
This may sound familiar to you that you heard that somewhere else stated in the Bible, well that is from Jesus in Luke 4:18-19 in which he read those verse from Isaiah. In Luke 4:20-21 (NLT) it says,
“He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. ‘The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!’”
Isaiah prophesied over 700 years before Jesus came to earth about what the mission was going to be. To bring good news to the poor, to comfort the brokenhearted, and to bring hope! This is the mission not just at Christmas but the other 364 days as well! We are to be the hands and feet of Jesus building the kingdom of God here on Earth by following Jesus’ mission! John Piper said in the ‘Good News of Great Joy’ reading plan (http://bible.com/r/C7) on day 18,
“Christmas is a model for missions. Missions is a mirror of Christmas. [The] mission means danger. And that the greatest danger is distrusting God’s mercy. Succumb to this and all is lost. Conquer here and nothing can harm you for a million ages.” ”
In the devotion he made the point that Jesus came into the world and faced great peril both as a child and adult (especially in the last three years of His life) until His death on the cross faced. Regardless of the dangers He experienced, Jesus said in John 17:18 (ESV) speaking to His Father:
“As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.”
Christmas is the model for us to live on mission to reach the overwhelmed, under resourced and far away. I pray that as you read this you are not facing true danger like Jesus did but this year you may have strife in your home, conflict at work, or suffering the loss of a love one; but regardless of how you “feel,” I want to encourage you to stay on mission. I read this in the “The Magic Of Christmas” reading plan the other morning from Durwood Snead who said:
“I am part of a kingdom—the greatest kingdom on earth led by an all-powerful King who has very specific things for me to do…The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me. The magic of Christmas is that my King has chosen me to be an active part of proclaiming good news to the poor by my actions.”
As a blood bought child of the living God, I am so thankful that “that my King has chosen me to be an active part of proclaiming good news” to anyone that He brings into my life. One of my favorite quotes that describe me to a T is from Zig Ziglar…
This truly is my heart’s desire…to inspire, encourage and guide someone along the path to grow closer to Jesus! And when you realize how incredible it is that God sent His Son to be the bridge so that we can have a relationship with Him, your whole perspective changes! “Christmas is a model for missions,” this Christmas open your heart to what God’s purpose is for you. Jesus is looking to us to be the guide or the light to bring the lost to Him. Will you accept the mission?
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