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  • Writer's pictureHelen Bent

Twelve Days of Christmas (07-01-22)

Bible Readings: John 1. 1 – 5, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it…

…The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

A Thought

We have just come to the end of the twelve days of Christmas and we have taken down our decorations and put them away for another year. As we face another year with Covid looming large, there will be many challenges along the way. This is when we need to be reminded more and more of the basis of our faith and God’s faithfulness when the going gets tough.

In recent times, there has been much speculation about the Christmas Carol, ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’. It may have simply been a counting or memory tool. Alternatively, there are those who think it contains a hidden meaning, designed to teach young English Catholics the essentials of the faith when it was against the law to practise Catholicism (from 1558 – 1829). However, none of the items listed would distinguish Catholic from Protestant, so they would hardly need to be secret.

Day 1: One partridge – One true God, the foundational truth of our faith. (John 1)

Day 2: Two turtle doves – Two sections of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments.

Day 3: Three French hens – Three essential qualities: faith, hope and love. (1 Cor.13. 13)

Day 4: Four calling birds – The four Gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,) beginning the New Testament, which tell the story of Jesus Christ when he was here on earth.

Day 5: Five gold rings – the first five books of the Bible, the books of Moses, also known as the Pentateuch or the Torah or the Books of the Law.

Day 6: Six geese a-laying – God made (‘hatched’) the heavens, the earth, the seas and all that is within them in six days but on the seventh day he rested. (Genesis 1 & 2)

Day 7: Seven swans a-swimming – The gifts of the Spirit, given to equip us for the Christian life of service. (1 Corinthians 12. 6 – 8)

Day 8: Eight maids a-milking – The eight Beatitudes given to us by Jesus at the beginning of his ministry during the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5. 1 - 10)

Day 9: Nine ladies dancing – The fruit of the Spirit, nine qualities in all: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5. 22)

Day 10: Ten lord’s a-leaping – The Ten Commandments given by God to Moses on Mount Sinai and reiterated by Jesus in the New Testament. (Exodus 20; Mark 12. 30-31)

Day 11: Eleven pipers piping – The eleven faithful disciples (minus Judas Iscariot, who had betrayed Jesus) who continued his ministry after the Ascension. (Acts 1. 12-13)

Day 12: Twelve drummers drumming – The twelve great truths of the Christian Faith expressed in the Apostles’ Creed, which you can find in your red service book on p. 44.

What better way to start a New Year than with a reminder of the essence of our faith!

A Prayer

Living Lord, may the foundations of faith become more deeply rooted within my life day by day as I walk with you through this new year. Amen.

This, I believe – a setting of the Apostles’ Creed from Hillsong

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