1 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.
2 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
3 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
4 This star drew near to the northwest,
o'er Bethlehem it took its rest;
and there it did both stop and stay
right over the place where Jesus lay. Refrain
5 Then entered in those wise men three,
full rev'rently upon their knee,
and offered there in his presence
their gold, and myrrh, and frankincense. Refrain
Although this hymn is traditionally considered a Christmas carol, its retelling of the visit of the wise men makes it an appropriate selection for Epiphany. The hymn says that the wise men's intent was to search for a king. We have already seen that the first place they stopped to look was the palace in Jerusalem. Not finding the king they were looking for in the palace, they were sent to the town of Bethlehem to search for this would-be king. What they found is not what anyone would expect.
This child was not born of nobility. Although he was counted in the line of David, the Davidic monarchy had ceased centuries earlier and David's descendants were now commoners. God deemed it necessary for Christ to be born of a commoner so the Messiah would be seen as savior of all, especially those of us who are not of noble birth.
God of the common, you have chosen me, a commoner, to be an ambassador of your kingdom. Use me this day to invite other common people into your holy reign of love. Amen.