Noel & Light

Today is my younger sister Lisa’s birthday. To us, she was a Christmas baby. In fact, her middle name is Noel.

The word “noel” dates back to the late 14th century. It comes from the Old French word nael, which means “Christmas season.” In turn, nael was derived from the Latin word natalis (birthday) and refers to the birth of Christ. [1]

My sister loves Christmas and decorates her house—inside and out—with lights and trees, transforming it into a twinkling wonderland. This year, I have been increasingly moved by the sight of Christmas lights. By them, I am reminded of Christ, who is the Light of the World. [2]

Last weekend, my younger sister and I, along with our Mom and Dad, took a trip to Grantsville, Maryland. It’s the home of Spruce Forest’s “Christmas in the Village” annual event. Here’s a picture of my sister and me outside one of the historic houses in the village:

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Here, my sister Lisa (right) and I are sitting outside the Glotfelty House, built in 1776 and rebuilt here in Spruce Forest Artisan Village in 1972. A local weaver works and displays her art here. (photo by T. Sullivan)

On our way back, we passed through several rural communities. Places like Midland and Elk Lick Run. We passed this beautiful light display:

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A Midland, Maryland, Christmas greeting. …It was a rainy night, and my sister liked how the flash on the raindrops added a wintry element to this photo.

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Peace on earth: The “O” of the Midland, Maryland Christmas greeting.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. — John 1:5 (ESV)


[1] Online Entomology Dictionary
[2] John 8:12; John 9:5; John 12;26

Scenes of Christmas: A Noel Baby

Candles glowed in the windows.  The Christmas tree twinkled with lights.  My older sister and I waited expectantly with Grandma as the clock ticked off the minutes.  The phone on the kitchen wall rang.  Grandma answered it swiftly, listened for a few moments, then announced, “You have a baby sister.  Lisa Noel!”

Today is my younger sister Lisa’s birthday.  We’ve been through a lot together over the years. Always, she has been a steadfast friend, a beloved sister, and a treasured gift from God.

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L to R: Me, Mom with Lisa Noel, & Beth

… That was then … this is now …

Sisters, Sisters! Here I am (with the big, cheesy grin) surrounded by my younger sister (the Noel baby) and my older sister (with Gus-Gus).  My 5-year old nephew was the photographer. "Is Gussy looking? Look, Gussy!" he coaxed. Yeh, Gussy couldn't be bothered.

Sisters, Sisters! Here I am (with the big, cheesy grin) surrounded by my younger sister (the Noel baby) and my older sister (with Gus-Gus). My 5-year old nephew was the photographer. “Is Gussy looking? Look, Gussy!” he coaxed. Yeh, Gussy couldn’t be bothered.