My whole life I’ve heard the story of my birth on a snowy Christmas Day in New England. My mother remembers how everyone excitedly jumped up from the dinner table and rushed into action when her water broke. My grandfather was so excited he went out to warm up the car and forgot to engage the emergency brake. When they all ran out to get in the car it was not in the driveway; it had rolled across the street into the neighbor’s yard with the wheels spinning.
My mother thought the name Joy Noel would be nice for a girl, but when she saw me she thought I just didn’t look like a Joy Noel. Instead, she decided my name would be Julie. While I am grateful to have not been the butt of every junior high joke at Christmas, I do love that noel has a deep and rich history that would have made me proud to share the name.
Our English carol, “The First Noel,” was first published in 1823 in a book titled Carols Ancient and Modern. The message was clearly a joyful announcement of the birth of the King of Israel. When we wish someone a joyous noel we are joining the angels announcing the good news that Jesus Christ was born, not just for Israel, but for all mankind. For men and women, Jew and Gentile, rich and poor, young and old. All are welcome.
That first noel was a scandalous act of generosity. And now the word noel reminds me that Jesus left Heaven and came as a vulnerable and powerless baby to show me the road back to the Father and to my true purpose.
Born is the King of Israel!
The Women Doing Well team wishes you a joyous noel. May God richly bless you this Christmas season.
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