December 1, 2019

December 01, 2019
Pastor Jonathan Falwell

What type of music do you enjoy listening to? Do you care more about the beat, the words, or both? Will you also share which song is your favorite, and why?

Over the many centuries, music has been an important part of the life of the church. Sound doctrine and Bible verses set to music were great methods used to teach believers much of the Bible. Today we begin a new Christmas series, illustrating how some of the original Christmas carols taught theology or exalted the birth of Jesus Christ with the verses.

Key Verse: Luke 2:11: “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Christmas Carol: The First Noel

The Announcement of His birth was delivered to people like you and me

  • Read Luke 2:8. What do you know about the shepherds in Israel at the time of Christ? Where did they fall on the ladder of Society? Where did they live?
  • Why would God choose people like this to announce to them the birth of His Son?
  • Read Matt. 2:1, 2a. Matthew records the events of Jesus’ birth from another direction. Who learned of His birth in these verses? What was their “rank” in society? Did you list Herod? Where would he have ranked himself?
  • Who are represented in the two groups of Luke and Matthew?

Confusing and scary

  • Read Luke 2:9. These shepherds were spread out over the hillside, being responsible for the safety of the sheep. Why were they “greatly afraid”? What did that mean? In all fairness, how would you have reacted, had you been out on a hill on a dark night—and an angel appeared to you?
  • Read Matt. 2:3. Even at the top of society’s ladder, what was the reaction of Herod, and all Jerusalem? Why would “all Jerusalem” be afraid?
  • Read Matt. 2:4-6. How can you be sure that Herod was very aware that the OT prophesied a coming Messiah for the Jews? How would he have felt?

Life Changing

  • Read Luke 2:10-11. Who was the message from the angel for? What feelings would the message cause?
  • Read Matt. 2: 7-8. Why did Herod call the Wise Men? What did he plan to do?
  • Why would this birth bring great joy to all men (Luke)?
  • Why would Herod have felt the coming of a Messiah could change his life (Matt.)?


  • Read Luke 2:15-17. How did the shepherds feel once the angels had gone away? What was their immediate reaction in verse 17?
  • Read Matt. 2:9-12. How did the Magi react when they—guided by the star—arrived at the house of Mary and Joseph? What did they do?
  • How did they know to avoid Herod?


“The first noel,” the angel 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!

How many years have you sung this beautiful Christmas Carol, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ? Can you even begin to imagine the shepherds living out on the hillside, with only other shepherds for company, when an angel from God appears to them? To absorb the message he brought, then hear the good news that had been circulating throughout your people for centuries, would have been surreal. Would you have wondered “Why me, God?” The angel was suddenly joined by a heavenly host, all singing and praising God, with good news for all people! When the night became quiet again, would you have gotten with your buddies to see if you should go find the babe? That night changed their lives, and once they had run into the city to announce what they had seen and heard, the shepherds were undoubtedly never the same again.

Meanwhile, wise men from the East saw a star—one they could only identify as seemingly ready to guide them to an unknown destination. Eventually they arrived in Jerusalem, saw Herod the king, and inquired of him where they might find the new King of the Jews. They unwittingly alerted Herod to the birth of Jesus that had happened sometime in the recent past, and so went in search of Him. They continued to follow the star until it came over a house where Mary and Joseph lived. They entered, and their lives were changed forever as well. God had mercy on their encounter with Herod, and warned them to avoid him as they left.

What about you? Have you had a miraculous encounter with the Savior? Born to “save His people from their sin,” He comes into a life, creating a new birth, and making a new creation! Your life will never be the same. If you don’t know Him, will you seek out someone today who will show you how to find Him?