Monday, December 29, 2008

5 Onion Rings

One of my favorite versions of the song, 12 Days of Christmas, is sung by the Disney characters: Mickey, Donald, Goofy...the whole gang. Day 5 is Goofy's, and he's supposed to call out 5 Gold Rings, but wouldn't you know, he gets a little "goofy" and calls out 5 Onion Rings. My sister and I always loved it. Today is Day 5!
For Christmas this year, my sneaky husband found a way to get me this Disney Album, Mickey's Merry Christmas Carols, which oddly enough I mentioned last week as being my favorite album, but I rarely hear it anymore because it's a record and it's at my Mom's. My husband used the internet, and groveled and begged with people that have better equipment, and managed to get EVERY song on that record, and burned it to CD for me. I was so excited, I listened to that thing all day long! Is it weird that a Christmas record was my favorite present? Probably.
This got me wondering. Why was it again, this was a code for early Christians? So, I thought I'd post some of the details I found.

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22)

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Leading us to Epiphany, January 6

How I got on this tangent...we were asked today if we'd taken our Christmas tree down. What? Heck no! We didn't even get it up until the 20th. It's not even Epiphany yet, it's still Christmas! That was our response. I realize now, that a lot of folks don't celebrate the "season of Christmas" in the same way we do. Our church celebrates that Advent runs the 4 weeks prior to Christmas, and then from Christmas to Epiphany is the season of Christmas. Epiphany is celebrated as the day the Wise Men made it to Jesus.

In our family we have a couple traditions, which now that I think about it, may be a little unusual to some.

A. We leave the tree up until least. I must confess that often Ephiphany rolls around and we are caught up in things, the tree may not come down on January 6th, but usually shortly thereafter. At least we make sure to turn the lights off. We leave them on 24/7 as soon as they go up until Epiphany.

B. Epiphany is traditionally celebrated the day the Wise Men brought their gifts to Baby Jesus. To that end, our nativity scenes the wise men don't make it to the manger until Ephiphany. They literally are moved around the house. We try to remember to move them a little closer every day. Now my Dad and Stepmom play the music "We Three Kings" to move kings by, and they move them all over, and have multiple sets. Our old set is too fragile to have around Chris. This year, we have 2 sets out too, but 1 of them the wise men are attached and moving people is not an option. The other, Chris got as a gift, a LITTLE PEOPLE NATIVITY. It's so cute. And of course, Baby Jesus (normally not put out until Christmas morning)was played with too much to hide, but the Wise Men are on the mantle and moving closer daily. They'll arrive next Tuesday.


Carrie said...

2 comments on this...

1. I was happy to read your biblical explanation of the 12 days of Christmas. I caught the tail end of the dj talking about this on my Christmas XM station the other day, and I was curious about it.

2. In the house where I grew up we ALWAYS left the tree up until Epiphany! Now, Steve and I don't follow it as a hard and fast rule, but we have to leave it up until at least New Years. After all that work to put it up, why tear it down so fast? Enjoy it!

amypfan said...

I had actually never heard this explanation before. Thanks for posting it. :) Hope you all feel better soon over at your house!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. I didn't know this either!

Anonymous said...

I, too, try to leave the tree and decorations up through Epiphany, but I had never hear of moving the kings ever closer...not that I have a nativity set. Might have to start that next year :) Thanks for sharing your family's traditions. And the meaning behind the song. Jen Claudy