1st day of Christmas Devotional

12 Days of Christmas Devotional

            I don’t know about y’all, but I’m pretty excited today! It’s Christmas Day and we rejoice in the birth of our Savior. It’s a beautiful day and it is now the true start of the 12 days of Christmas. Happy first day of Christmas.  For a follower of Jesus, Christmas Day is just the beginning of the celebration. On the Christian calendar, December 25 begins a 12-day extravaganza, culminating in the Epiphany of the Lord, on January 6th.
            Truth be told, the twelve days of Christmas are probably the most misunderstood part of the church year. Contrary to much popular belief, these are not the twelve shopping days before Christmas, but the twelve days from Christmas to the Day of Epiphany. The origin of the twelve days is complicated. The confusion is related to differences in calendars, church traditions, and sacred observances in a variety of cultures. Here in the Western church, Epiphany is traditionally celebrated as the time that the Wise Men, or Magi, arrived to present gifts to the young Jesus (Matt. 2:1-12). In some cultures, especially Hispanic and Latin American cultures, January 6th is observed as Three Kings Day, or simply the Day of the Kings. Even though December 25th is celebrated as Christmas Day in these cultures, January 6th is often the day for giving gifts. In some places it is traditional to give Christmas gifts for each of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
            The popular song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," is usually considered a simple little song for children. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction dating back to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device--a numerical prompt--to teach the basics of the faith to new believers.
            The "true love" mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God, the divine self. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the "days" represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for new believers to learn. There is no evidence to prove this theory, but the possibilities are remarkable.

            “On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me Twelve Drummers Drumming”
The twelve points of doctrine in our 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 Church,
9) The communion of saints,
10) The forgiveness of sins,
11) the resurrection of the body,

12) and life everlasting.

           “On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Eleven Pipers Piping”
The eleven Faithful Apostles:
1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16).
(The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the Romans.)
          “On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Ten Lords A-leaping”
The Ten Commandments: (Exodus 20:1-17)
         “On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Nine Ladies Dancing”
The nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control    (Galatians 5:22-23)

        “On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Eight Maids A-milking”
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)
         “On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Seven Swans A-swimming”
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) administration, and 7) showing mercy. (Romans 12:6-8; cf.1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

        “On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Six Geese A-laying” 
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

         “On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Five Gold Rings.”
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity’s sinful failure and God’s response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

         “On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Four Calling Birds”
These were actually Colly birds, a black bird common to England.
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God’s reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

          “On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Three French Hens” 
1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
         “On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...Two Turtle Doves”
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God’s self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

         “On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...A Partridge in a Pear Tree”
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God,
In the song, Christ is symbolically presented, as a mother partridge feigns injury or even death in order to protect her young.
            The best gift we have ever been given is that of Jesus Christ who came to us as a baby born to Joseph and Mary, born into a world full of turmoil in need of forgiveness and grace.

            Our world today still needs that, there is a great darkness that hangs over our land and we are to be the light that illumines the darkness. Yes, Christ was born over 2000 years ago, but everyday Christ is born into the hearts of new believers and lives within all of our hearts. I once heard a very wise woman say that while she hopes Santa Claus came to visit her, her ultimate prayer is for Jesus to make his presence known in every home. And that is my prayer for us all as well today. For Jesus to warm our hearts and our homes this day and this Christmas season. Go and spread the light. Amen.


  April 2021  
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