Monthly Archives: December 2018

The Celebration of Christmas is still going on

It’s nice to know that after the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas intermixed with the Sundays where we are expectantly waiting with joy of anticipation, that after the big day—- it’s not over.  In the 12 days following Christmas day we have time to reflect and give thanks each day for a particular gift that God has given us.  I am speaking of the 12 days of Christmas, but not necessarily of geese-a-laying or maids-a-milking.  Today we teach our children the ABC’s with things like A is apple, b for banana and c is for cat.  It is referred to as memorization by association.  Many years ago the Catholic Church taught their children and new converts a way to remember and give thanks to God for the gifts of the tenements of the faith of Christianity. Some even say it was a secret code as the church was enduring persecution.

What we know today as the song of The Twelve Days of Christmas was once a poem, and the poem became a song which without explanation became a silly song of a lover bestowing lavish gifts on his loved one.  I have even heard of some who have added up the cost of all the gifts mentioned and it was astronomical.  However this isn’t far off from the truth of the meaning of the song.

The True Love is speaking of God the Father of the Trinity. Father, Son and Holy Spirit

The partridge in the pear tree is Jesus the Son of God. The partridge is a ground bird who will cover her young and die to protect them.  A good picture of Jesus who covered our sin by dying for us on a tree.

Two turtle doves speaks of the two testaments of God’s Word, the Bible. The Old and The New tell us of God’s plan and is there for all who will read and believe.  Turtle doves were used by the poor as a sacrifice when they could not afford a lamb.

Three French Hens were used to describe the three virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love, taught in I Corinthians ch 13.  French hens are said to be a very quiet, gentle and friendly hen.

Four calling birds are the four gospels calling out the Good News of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Five Golden Rings are the first five foundational books of the Bible, known as the five books of the Torah.  These books give the history of humanity’s sinful nature and of God’s response of grace to create a people who would bring forth a light to the world.

Six geese a-laying speak of the six days of creation, each egg representing a day that something new was made by the Creator and Sustainer of the world.

Seven swans a-swimming are the seven gifts of the Spirit found in II Cor 12:8-11 and Romans 12:6-6, an appropriate symbol for these gifts of grace as swans are considered among the most beautiful and graceful creatures on earth.

Eight maids-a-milking refers to Christ coming to serve the lost and the least as milk maids in the day this would have been written as a code, milk maids was the lowest of jobs to be had. Eight beatitudes give blessing to those in need listed in Matthew 5:3-10

Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22. Dancing denotes joy as does a life that produces these fruits from the Holy Spirit.

Ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.  In the day of Lords and servants, the lord was the judge and jury not always dealing justly.  The ten commandments give a clear understanding of right and wrong.

Eleven Pipers piping refer to the eleven faithful apostles, the disciples who followed Jesus after His death and resurrection. The twelfth apostle stopped following Christ just before His death.

Twelve drummers drumming are the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s creed which is repeated over and over like drumming these points into our being.

Using these phrases you can sing This version of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  Try it, you’ll like it. There are several other versions like the Polish dinner, and the Hawaiian version, but this is version is the true meaning of the Twelve days and I for one think it should be sung as well.

This is the third celebration of Christmas, there is one more and I will post it before the end of the twelve days of Christmas. In the meantime thank God for the designated gift each of the twelve days.

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Tis the Season

The holiday season is normally thought to begin at Thanksgiving and concludes with New years, with Christmas in between.  Christmas to many means Christmas Eve and Christmas day with many previous days being devoted to shopping for gifts and preparing food. It’s during these days that we wish each other “Happy Holidays.”   I would like to suggest that Christmas is much more than another holiday crunched in between two others.  In fact I would say that Christmas is a season in and of itself, and Jesus is the reason for that season.   Christmas is a time of joy and celebration and actually there are four celebrations during the Christmas Season and the reason we say “Merry Christmas.”  Advent is the first of the four celebrations of Christmas.  Advent refers to the promise of coming, not only to the first coming of Jesus as a babe in a manger, but also to the promise of His second coming as the Mighty King. Advent begins the fourth week before Christmas Sunday, usually the last Sunday of November or as happened this year the first Sunday of December.   This first Sunday focuses on the promise and hope of His coming. “Come thou Long Expected Jesus” is a hymn often sung on this day.  As He was expected when He came the first time, He is expected to fulfill the promise of His second coming. The second Sunday is that of preparation, a need to prepare our hearts and minds to receive His gift of redemption and contemplate the meaning of this to each person who will receive it.  The third Sunday is that of rejoicing over this great gift and the fact that He came, leaving heaven to come and live as a man among men to show human kind the truth about God. The fourth Sunday focuses on love and adoration of the Savior of all who will accept Him.  The advent wreath features four candles in a circle, one lit for each Sunday, with a fifth candle in the middle lit on Christmas eve to signify the birth of the Christ Child.

There are many versions of the advent wreath, this one features the Nativity which is why I like it.

All of this leads up to the second celebration of Christmas which is the eve and the day of Christmas. The night before Christmas is celebrated with family gatherings.  When there is no one present except family a selfie saves the day, and when one family member is missing due to being in a different state, a face time phone call is just the ticket.

After dinner, a Christ mass which is the way Christmas was originally celebrated, or a Christmas Eve candle lighting worship service is enjoyed.

At home the tree is a delight and a wonder to the little ones.

And the gifts are waiting to bring delight and joy to everyone.

Christmas day for us is a flurry of visiting others and having guests in the evening. All surprises and secrets are revealed and the tree is devoid of the beauty of the wrapped presents, and the silence of Christmas night is upon us.

There are two more celebrations of Christmas, but that is for another day.  Join me in the next couple of days for more of Christmas.

This one can’t wait to get his hands on the star cookie, an addition to the usual “Grandma cookies.”

 

 

 

 

 

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