Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On the Second Day of Christmas...

“On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.”

So far, a partridge and doves. On the 12 days of Christmas half the gifts in the song are birds with varying capacities for flying. The rest are about joys that don’t leave the ground.

What an excellent reminder of how the power of faith is twofold: it gives us “wings” and lifts us up while exalting in what’s here already, on the ground – even “gold,” no less – or “acres of diamonds,” as Russell Conwell, a Baptist minister, put it at the turn of the last century!

In a speech delivered more than 6,000 times around the world, Conwell was saying that God has given us so much in the birth of Christ. Our job now is to let his new life be experienced as precious and “incarnate” for us right now – touchable, seeable, feelable, exactly where we are: in the nip of autumn, the crunch of snow, the scent of soil unthawing, the warmth of summer; in the love and affection of family and friends; through all those willing to help if we have the nerve to ask. But also in times of crisis and despair. Then, too, in the spirit of Jesus, God waits to heal and direct us.

How fitting that “doves” follow right upon the first verse of the carol. Of all the symbols from the earliest times that Christians adopted, the dove was understood to represent the gifts of the Holy Spirit and Jesus. And in the carol we have two doves, no less, along with that partridge!

Is all this again to make sense of nonsense? Of course! God does that all the time. Martin Luther said, “God can draw straight with a crooked line and ride a lame horse.” Crazy grace, “how sweet the sound,” rescuing love from whatever gets in the way.

1 comment:

desertdeb said...

I love the "mindfulness" of your message. It reminds me to "be still and know that I am God". If we do that, we can be filled with gratitude and experience that glorious emotion while it breaks us down and humbles us and allows us to be filled with light. Beautiful take on the song, beautiful words, beautiful inspiration. Thank you, honey.


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