“On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...ten lords a-leaping, nine ladies dancing, eight maids a-milking, seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five gold rings – four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.”
Dancing...now leaping! We’re getting swept up in the good news of Christmas: the Savior is born, life is redeemed from sin and injustice, and we can anticipate God’s victory about to be made known to the world!
Luke says the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy in the presence of Mary, pregnant with Jesus (1:41). The prophet says “the lame will leap like a deer” (Isaiah 35:6). And just that happens when a man described as lame in Acts is healed by Peter and John: he jumps up, “leaping and praising God” (3:8). Later on it’s said that Jesus himself was “anointed with the oil of gladness” (Hebrews 1:9). The word gladness in the original language means to leap or to jump.
How many times have we felt like “lords a-leaping”? The verse speaks of the number 10. Think of the Top 10 most popular songs, books, and movies. What are your Top 10 experiences of leaping for joy, or feeling like you wanted to? At first we may think only of several. But press on... and on.
We’ve been given – and promised – so much. Those times we can’t feel the difference this makes, the best thing to do is to practice it anyway. Visit someone you know needs company. Or spend more time than you think you have talking with a friend. Keep taking that walk every morning when often enough there’s an excuse to first read the newspaper. Perhaps discover neighbors who might be willing to take that walk with you. Beyond workaday responsibilities, do at least two things you don’t want to do but know need doing and do them as soon as you can, every day!
The true joy of giving moves beyond “I’ll do it” to doing it! There’s no better time to practice this joy than right now, in celebration of the One born among us as the gift of new life and hope, now and forever.