Epiphany is January 6, right? Well, maybe. But in many western countries, Epiphany has been celebrated since 1970 on the Sunday after January 1, and in the Catholic calendar it’s the second Sunday after Christmas. Which means that today–Saturday, January 1–is (in at least one definition) Epiphany Eve.
So in addition to saying Happy New Year, “The First Nowell” seems appropriate today.
We associate this carol with Christmas, but if you go through the whole thing you’ll see that it takes us to Epiphany, hence my scheduling it today. 1 That becomes especially clear if we sing (as we will) All! Six! Verses!
“Nowell” (of the many spellings) means Christmas, so the “first Nowell the angels did say” was their first announcement. Other hymns talk about about “singing Nowell”; same idea.
So now, let’s sing a little Nowell ourselves:
The first Nowell 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. Refrain: Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Nowell, Born is the King of Israel. They looked up and saw a star Shining in the east beyond them far: And to the earth it gave great light, And so it continued both day and night. (Refrain) And by the light of that same star, Three Wise Men came from country far; To seek for a King was their intent, And to follow the star wherever it went. (Refrain) This star drew nigh to the north-west; O'er Bethlehem it took its rest; And there it did both stop and stay Right over the place where Jesus lay. (Refrain) Then entered in those Wise Men three, Full reverently upon their knee,2 And offered there in His presence Their gold and myrrh and frankincense. (Refrain) Then let us all with one accord Sing praises to our heav'nly Lord That hath made heav'n and earth of nought, And with His blood mankind hath bought. (Refrain)
Not sure what this is about? Click here!
Join us at https://lavezzi.us/ on each of the Twelve Days of Christmas to join in this virtual sing-along. Want to catch up? Care to be a serial singer? Here you go:
- Here is the song from the First Day of Christmas.
- Here is the song from the Second Day of Christmas.
- Here is the song from the Third Day of Christmas.
- Here is the song from the Fourth Day of Christmas.
- Here is the song from the Fifth Day of Christmas.
- Here is the song from the Sixth Day of Christmas.
- Here is the song from the Seventh Day of Christmas.