Dec 13 2010

The Twelve Days of Christmas

From the book The ADVENTure of Chrsitmas (Helping Children Find Jesus in our Holiday Traditions) by Lisa Whelchel.

I know you've heard of Christmas cookies and Christmas carols, but have you ever heard of the Christmas code?  It just may be that the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is really about more than partridges and golden rings.

 

For nearly three hundred years, it was against the law in England to be a member of the Catholic church.  Well, that didn't keep Catholic parents from wanting to teach their children about God, but in order to do so they had to be creative.

And here is where we leave the world of certain history and move into the misty realm of legends.  As the story goes, several of these concerned parents got together and wrote "The Twelve Days of Christmas."  They used a secret code hidden in the song to teach their children about the things of God.  Let me crack the code for you!

"My true love" represents God, who gives all the gifts listed in the song.

"A partridge in a pear tree" is Jesus, who gave His life on a tree (the cross).

"Two turtle doves" symbolize the Old and New Testaments.

"Three French hens" are faith, hope, and love.

"Four calling birds" speak of the four Gospels:  Matthew, Mark, Luke , and John.

"Five golden rings" correspond to the first five books of the Bible, also known as the Pentateuch.

"Six geese a-laying" stand for the six days of creation.

"Seven swans a-swimming" are the seven gifts of the Spirit (Romans 12:6-8).

"Eight maids a-milking" point to the eight beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10).

"Nine ladies dancing" signify the nine fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).

"Ten lords a-leaping" represent the Ten Commandments.

"Eleven pipers piping" are the eleven faithful disciples.  And finally...

"Twelve drummers drumming" call to mind the twelve points of the Apostle's Creed.

Learning this song would help the children remember some important facts about Christianity.  Best of all, they could sing it publicly!  When they did, they declared their allegiance to the King of kings.

Dec 12 2010

Advice - Be patient with your (annoying) relatives.

From Matthew West’s book Give This Christmas Away

  

Everybody’s got ‘em.  I’m sure if I asked you, you could quickly rattle off the name of a relative who tends to outstay his or her welcome over the holidays.  The movie Elf nails one of the classic depictions of dysfunctional family visits during the holidays.  The main character, Buddy, was raised as an elf at the North Pole—a six-foot-tall elf dressed in green with bright yellow tights.  He is searching for his real family in New York City, and when he finds them, well, let’s just say that the family isn’t quite as thrilled as he is.  Buddy has nothing but love for his new family, and he means well.  So do your relatives. 

 

Go out of your way to show love to a particular relative whom you have a hard time getting along with.  Chances are, they will respond in a positive way.  And pray for an extra dose of patience when dealing with our family this Christmas.  Just hope they don’t show up at your house in yellow tights.

 

Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.  Ephesians 4:2

 

Dec 10 2010

Give This Christmas Away

Dec 09 2010

The Geese and the Snowstorm

 

 

There was once a man who did not believe in the virgin birth of Christ or the spiritual meaning behind it.  He didn’t understand all the focus on Jesus at Christmas time.  He was even skeptical there was a God who loved him. 

He and his family lived in a farm community. His wife was a devout believer and diligently raised her children in the faith. He sometimes gave her a hard time about her belief and mocked her reverence of Christmas.  "It's all nonsense -- why would God lower himself and become a human like us? It's such a silly story," he said.

One snowy December day, his wife and the children left for church while he stayed home. After they had departed, the winds grew stronger and the snow turned into a blinding snowstorm. He sat down to relax before the fire for the evening.

Then he heard a loud thump, something hitting against the window... And, still another thump. He looked outside but could not see anything. So he ventured outside for a better view. In the field near his house he saw, of all the strangest things, a flock of geese. They were apparently flying to look for a warmer area down south, but they had been caught in the snowstorm. The storm had become too blinding and violent for the geese to fly or see their way. They were stranded on his farm, with no food or shelter, unable to do more than flutter their wings and fly in aimless circles. He had compassion for them and wanted to help them. He thought to himself, the barn would be a great place for them to stay. It is warm and safe; surely they could spend the night and wait out the storm. So he opened the barn doors for them.

He waited, watching them, hoping they would notice the open barn and go inside. Nevertheless, they did not notice the barn or realize what it could mean for them. He moved closer toward them to get their attention, but they just moved away from him out of fear.

He went into the house and came back with some bread, broke it up, and made a bread trail to the barn. They still did not catch on.

Starting to get frustrated, he went over and tried to shoo them toward the barn. They panicked and scattered into every direction except toward the barn. Nothing he did could get them to go into the barn where there was warmth, safety, and shelter. Feeling totally frustrated, he exclaimed, "Why don't they follow me? Can't they see this is the only place where they can survive the storm? How can I possibly get them into the one place to save them?"

He thought for a moment and realized that they just would not follow a human. He said to himself, "How can I possibly save them? The only way would be for me to become like those geese. If only I could become like one of them. Then I could save them. They would follow me and I would lead them to safety."
 

His words reverberated in his mind.   

If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them.  

Suddenly, everything his wife had lived and said in front of him filled his heart.  Jesus became a man to save mankind. 

 

He fell to his knees in the snow.

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