12 Day of Christmas Devotional

THE 12th DAY OF CHRISTMAS….

Here we are. Today is the last of the 12 days of Christmas. The 12 days of Christmas begin on Christmas Day and end today, January 5. Merry Christmas everyone!

These 12 days are usually my favorite time of the Christmas season. By this point the hectic pace – the hustle and bustle - of the season has called down. Now is the time to sit back and enjoy the festive beauty of the trees and the lights. Now is the time when I can find time to be still and to rejoice fully in the extraordinary gift that God has given to all who will receive – the gift of this one who is the “reason for the season” – Jesusl.

I love the imagery of this season from that old Christmas carol called “The Twelve Days of Christmas”. On each of the days there is another gift:

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me

Day 1:a partridge in a pear tree. (Jesus our Lord)

Day 2: two turtle doves (the Old and the New Testaments)

Day 3: three French hens (faith, hope and love)

Day 4: four calling birds (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)

Day 5: five gold rings (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy)

Day 6: six geese a-laying (6 days of creation)

Day 7: seven swans a-swimming (the gifts of the spirit)

Day 8: eight maids a-milking (the beatitudes)

Day 9: nine ladies dancing (the fruits of the spirit)

Day 10: 10 lords a-leaping (the 10 commandments)

Day 11: 11 pipers piping (11 faithful disciples)

Day 12: 12 drummers drumming (the 12 points of what we believe as stated in the Apostle’s Creed)

 

On this 12th day of Christmas, I find myself reflecting on my own faith, on what I believe. Here are the 12 points of the Apostle’s Creed

1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave].
5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
7) I believe in the Holy Spirit,

8) the holy catholic (universal) Church,
9) The communion of saints,
10) The forgiveness of sins,

11) the resurrection of the body,
12) and life everlasting.
 

I grew up in the church from birth. I don’t know when I memorized them. It seems to me that I have always known them. Like the meaning behind the words of the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” each of these beliefs we affirm remind us of the bigger story. Each of these statements of belief remind us of the message of scripture. Each of these statements of belief help us understand the biggest story of all – the story of who God is and how God works.

 

Over the years I have learned that it is important for me to be clear about what I believe. And my life journey is the adventure of seeking to live what I say I believe.

The big story of who God is and how God works can be summarized in this way – God is love (1 John 4:8b – the MSG). This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; (John 3: 16-17 the MSG).

 

When the time was right, God sent His Beloved Son Jesus to this earth to be born as we are born – helpless as we are helpless – to learn as we learn – to step out and fulfill the calling of our lives as Jesus fulfilled the calling of his life.

 

Born into a deeply religious culture guided by the rules God himself gave to his people through Moses – Jesus was once asked what the most important rule was –37-40 Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ This is the most important, the first on any list. But there is a second to set alongside it: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ These two commands are pegs; everything in God’s Law and the Prophets hangs from them.” (Matthew 22: 37-40 the MSG). In other words, these rules summarize God’s entire message about what he wants us to do and how he wants us to live.

 

In the last hours of his earthly life Jesus spent time with his followers. He made it a point to emphasize what God wants us to do and how he wants us to live. Here is what he said: 34-35 “Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” (John 13:34-35 the MSG)

 

On this 12th day of Christmas, the festive beauty of the trees and lights and more are about to go back in the boxes for next Christmas. But the greatest gift of all remains.

 

The gift of Jesus is alive and well in the hearts of all who truly believe. This one who lives in our hearts beckons us in every part of our lives to love God and to demonstrate our love for God in the way we treat ourselves and others.

 

In this new year, may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us all, now and forever, we pray together. AMEN

 

 

 

Submitted by: Rev. Melanie Monroe, Hallettsville FUMC/Mossy Grove UMC 

 

 
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