Saturday, December 20, 2008

Grover and Noel

The Christmas cards I purchased this year had the word "N O E L" spelled out in big, pretty letters across the front of the card. Then, when going through my Christmas card lists from previous years, I came across the drawing above, done by my son (who is now 34 years old) when he was in the sixth grade of elementary school. It also had the word "N O E L", which he had drawn on a banner in the sky above the angel. He drew a cross on each side of the word "N O E L". The drawing had been saved (although it was yellowed with age) by my mom, who had cut it out of the newspaper. Back in the last century, the local newspaper would publish reprints of elementary school children's original art work that they had done to acknowledge this important holiday of the Christian faith. This was, perhaps, one of my son's first original works of art to be seen beyond his immediate circle of school friends and family. In reflecting on the familiar Nativity scene that he had drawn, as well as what my purchased cards said, it occurred to me that although I associate the word "N O E L" with Christmas, I was not 100% sure of what the word meant. I did not find the word in the copy of the Bible concordance that I normally use, so I looked it up in my gigantic Webster's dictionary. It's definition was so short, just referring to the French origin of the word, that I decided to check it out on a favorite sight on the Internet that my son had told me about several years ago---Wikipedia. They said the word can refer to either the Christmas celebration or a Christmas carol. Also, they said it was from the French word Noel, meaning "Christmas" which derives from the Old French word "niel"---a variant of "naeil". The Latin origin of that word is natilis ("birth"). FINALLY, I could see the connection! So the banner above, drawn by an eleven-year-old boy, really sums up the earthly life of Jesus Christ----his birth, then his death on the cross. And that is the gift God has given us that we celebrate at Christmas---the gift of his Son to die on the cross, as the sacrifice for our sins. Good work Son (with a capitol "S"), and good work son (with a small "s")! Merry Christmas! Tricia
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