Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On the First Day of Christmas...

I received an email every day leading up to Christmas from the Church I used to work for (their child care center anyway.) I loved reading them, so I'm sharing them with you. As you will soon read, it's not too late! :)

Christmas is too full of significance to fit into one day. Church tradition soon recognized at least 12 days – from the celebration of Jesus’ birth through Epiphany, January 6, commemorating the manifestation of Jesus to the world (“gentiles”) in the persons of the Magi. In some places it became traditional to give gifts on each of the 12 Days of Christmas. In this spirit the popular religious folk song arose that still delights many today.

The familiar song begins, “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...a partridge in a pear tree.” Imagine opening that gift!

Mark Twain said, “You can’t depend on your judgment when your imagination is out of focus.” The 12 gifts of the carol stretch our imagination. They have challenged many Christians to look again at the gifts of love that the birth of Jesus is all about. These gifts can lose their specialness until taken from us – as when a loved one dies, health fails, bonds of family or friendship are strained, confidence in the future is undermined. What was once simply important becomes more precious than ever.

The new life we celebrate at Christmas is the promise of new life for us, too. God gives us love and hope we thought we had lost, not by replacing what we once knew but by redeeming it – saving and preserving its value. This can mean learning something valuable from hard times in the past as well as cherishing all over again the happiness we have been given to know.

The nonsense of gifts like “a partridge in a pear tree” is much like the strange and surprising sense God makes of our lives. And the song says it’s given over and over along with other gifts.

Knowing this, it’s hard not to give as we’ve received, often beyond what we think we have to share. That only makes sense –  God’s kind of sense!

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