Updated: Jan 29
Merry Christmas everyone! I hope there were lots of presents under your tree and happiness abounds.
This is the season of giving and the giving does not stop with Christmas Day. It begins then, as we are asked to open daily presents during the Twelve Days of Christmas. The first day of Christmas was Christmas Day!
<singing> On the first day of Christmas (Friday) my true love gave to me …
<motion to the bus stop bench for responses>
<singing again> A partridge in a pear tree!
Saturday was the second day of Christmas, so …
<singing once more> On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me … two … turtle doves.
Today is the third day of Christmas, so …
<still singing> On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me … three French hens.
We will stop there and talk about the gifts that come after Christmas, but only up to today … the First Sunday after Christmas.
A partridge in a pear tree symbolizes Jesus Christ. In fact, God is “our true love,” who presents us with his son so he can be born in us on Christmas Day. Jesus Christ speaks the truth. Jesus Christ comes from the love of God.
Jesus Christ is represented by a partridge because they are known for their willingness to sacrifice their lives while protecting their young. A willing sacrifice brought about the end of Jesus’s life, but that symbolizes how we must sacrifice our self-egos, in order to save ourselves and receive Christ … to open up that present of a partridge in a pear tree.
A pear tree symbolizes the tree of life that bears fruit. Some say a pear tree represents “Salvation,” which is the greatest gift of all; and that comes from us becoming the fruit of Christ. We are then the fruit of the tree in which Jesus Christ grows, as Christian pears.
As far as a pair of turtle doves is concerned, it is good to know that was the offering made in sacrifice by Mary, for her purification and the circumcision of baby Jesus. In Luke 2:24 we read, “And to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”’ This ritual in the Temple of Jerusalem was done eight days after Mary had given birth to Jesus.
As such, the gift of personal Salvation (being the fruit of Christianity) is followed by the gift that recognizes one’s sacrifices for the purification of one’s sins. That comes from offering a sacrifice to the LORD … the sacrifice of ourselves … after we have given birth to Jesus Christ within us.
Some say that December 26th represents, as the second day of Christmas, the two natures in Jesus: human and divine. Still, others say the number reflects the two Testaments, Old and New. Likewise, it reflects our two self choices … the old me or a new me.
Today’s three French hens represent the present of faith, hope and charity. Our choice of sacrifice displays our faith, which gives one hope and leads one to charity towards others.
The number three can also represent Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit – as the Trinity – but that is less a gift and more of a required presence for opening all of the gifts that follow Christmas. It is a presence that separates you from the you God calls you to be. That takes us back to yesterday and the meaning of our true love’s second gift to us. So, let’s look at how we need to progress from a personal birth of Christ within us, to a sacrifice of cleansing, in order to gain full benefit of faith, hope and charity.
The second day of Christmas represents the principle of duality. It says that Salvation through Christ is a gift offered to us, but just like a present under the Christmas tree … if we never open it … if we do not like it and never use it … if we stick it in a closet and try to give it away to someone else some other time … we can lose that gift.
Thus, duality means we are given the choice of remaining human or becoming divine. We are allowed to decide if we prefer the old ways, before God proposed his love for us through His gift of Jesus Christ, or if we would rather “say yes,” and take a new path of life.
That choice … that “say yes” choice … is the theme of the readings today.
For instance, we read a song of Isaiah that sings:
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD,
my whole being shall exult in my God;
for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation,
he has covered me with the robe of righteousness,
as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”
Isaiah said “Yes!” at a time when the people of Judah had said the opposite, lost their land, been taken as slaves into exile, and returned to raise an empty idol of remembrance.
Isaiah rejoiced because he was given Salvation and chose to be married to God … to be purified of his unrighteous past … and to become a pear on the Tree of Life (as garland). Isaiah became fruit of the LORD, bearing seeds (as jewels) through which others would likewise be reborn.
In David’s song of praise, he metaphorically sang of the works of God, through His children. They are the ones who say, “Yes!” to the gift of life.
When he sang, “The Lord rebuilds Jerusalem, he gathers the exiles of Israel,” this is meant to mean more than the buildings of a city, in a land of hills and valleys. Cities and terrain are like organs in a body: they must have life to be more than just relics in a corpse.
God gives the gift of eternal life through His Son, Jesus Christ. Through that Son being reborn in us, we become another partridge on the pear tree … reborn with the Christ Mind … another pear like all those before and after. We are saved so God can give salvation to others. We continue the gifts of Christmas as God’s children.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” sang David. We are rebuilt with eternal life, because we choose not to die as uncommitted mortals.
Thus, we sing along, “The LORD has pleasure in those who fear him, in those who await his gracious favor.”
Merry Christmas! I hope you love His gift of Jesus Christ!
When we read Paul’s words to the Christians of Galatia, saying: “Therefore the law was our disciplinarian until Christ came, so that we might be justified by faith,” we see the gift of Jesus Christ within us being how we incorporate the duality of the human and the divine, as well as the Old Testament and the New Testament. Sacrifice is founded in faith, but then faith is compounded through hope.
What was external, as a text that judged us as sinners, just as a biological father punishes his children for not doing as told, Jesus Christ within becomes the gift of the law being written in our hearts. Our choice to receive the Spirit makes us compliant with our faith, voluntarily. We act new, based on the internalization of that faith. We can then house the divine in a human body, just as Jesus did.
We become reborn Jesus’s. We are redeemed under the law. We are received as adoptive children of God … brothers and sisters of Jesus … all becoming the outward reflection of Christ, in new bodies.
Thus, with God in our hearts … with the law written on the walls of the chambers that regularly pumps so our bodies are filled with life blood .. we cry out, “Father!”
We are no longer slaves to sin, but children of God, as reborn Sons of God (regardless of what mortal gender our body says we are).
This brings us to John’s Gospel, where the first line sums the duality of the second day of Christmas up perfectly.
On Christmas Day Jesus is reborn within us. The first day of Christmas is the beginning of a new us. Through the Holy Spirit we receive Christ. Like the transformation of the disciples to Apostles on the Day of Pentecost, we have tongues of fire settle within us.
In the beginning comes the Word. We begin speaking in the tongues of truth, which we had never known before.
Peter speaking in tongues on the Day of Pentecost
This power to speak in tongues does not come alone, as a single unit of human brain power. No, it comes joining the human with the divine, once we have received the Holy Spirit of God.
The Word we speak is then because we are with God, and God is with us.
When we realize the Word is not our thoughts, but those spoken through us, then comes the ultimate dawning that the source of the Word is God.
The Word is God.
God speaks through our mouths. That is the gift of two turtledoves. We sacrifice ourselves so God can use our bodies – the duality of presence within and without. God takes what only has death (as a mortal) and gives it life (heaven beyond death).
John wrote in his Gospel, “There was a man sent from God.” He added, “He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.”
“John,” whom John the gospel writer named, means, “YAHWEH is Gracious” or “The LORD Graciously Gave.” Thus, all witnesses who testify to the light, do so “so that all we might believe” and gleefully open up the gift of Jesus Christ are the gift of two turtle doves.
In the story of Mary, told in the Gospel of Luke, we read how she and Joseph purchased two turtle doves for her purification ritual and to present baby Jesus to the priest to be circumcised. That took place on the eighth day after his birth.
But, more importantly than two living creatures being offered in ritual sacrifice to God, as instruments cleansing one of the “sins” of childbirth, the two true turtle doves were human beings that Mary remembered.
Luke recounted two witnesses that Mary and Joseph met. One was named Simeon (a man of Jerusalem) and the other Anna (a widow prophet from the tribe of Asher).
Rembrandt’s vision of Simeon and Anna
They both witnessed to the parents of Jesus, in what I would smile and say were spiritually synchronistic events. They were both filled with the Holy Spirit; and they both presented to Mary and Joseph the Word. Mary told Luke of the sacrifices Simeon and Anna had made in their lives, which had them both in the Temple, waiting for Jesus to come and give them fulfillment, knowing that Jerusalem and Israel would find Salvation.
Remember me saying that David wrote, “The LORD rebuilds Jerusalem; he gathers the exiles of Israel”? That is a duality, just as are Simeon (male) and Anna (female). They are another pair of turtle doves given by the LORD.
When you can see this (and I recommend you read Luke 1:21-38 to meet Simeon and Anna again), I want you to look at how John wrote, “He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him.”
Can you read those words and see how on Christmas Day Jesus Christ was born in you, you who is presently “in the world,” and you who had previously lived to serve yourself, “in the world” of you? Can you know that “He will come again in glory” means in you, and Jesus Christ has been reborn in countless Apostles ever since … with none of them being recognized as Jesus of Nazareth. The world does not know him. Only individuals filled with the Holy Spirit know that presence.
Who are you?
What do you want for Christmas little child?
Can you read those words and realize that Jesus Christ, as a spiritual presence from the Holy Spirit, is offering to come into a worldly being through you … just as Christ came into being through baby Jesus?
And, can you understand from reading those words why the world did not know Jesus Christ, because he was reborn looking like you?
Once you see and hear the witnesses speaking the Word, you change so that “your own people will not accept” you as having “become a child of God, who was born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of your own will of man, but of God”?
The Word still becomes flesh and lives among us, through the resurrection of Christ in all of his Apostles.
When one is a true Apostle, one has “seen the glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” There is only one son, but the same one son is given by God to those who seek salvation. Ask and you shall receive.
That is the “true love” of the Father, who on the first day of Christmas gives to us the opportunity of joining the Tree of Life, by accepting God into our hearts and Christ in our minds, with us each becoming a newborn baby Jesus.
On the second day of Christmas we testify to the Word.
On the third day of Christmas we see how the Word spreads faith, hope and charity from our mouths to others.
In the beginning was the Word – Our Father … Faith –
and the Word was with God – The Son … Hope –
and the Word was God – The Holy Spirit … Charity.
Between now and next Sunday we are to open a new gift of God each day, seeing daily how our faith, hope and charity grows … up to the tenth day of Christmas and the gift of ten lords a-leaping: “the Ten Commandments.” The gifts of days four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten are all wrapped up, hanging from the pear tree of Salvation, waiting for us to unwrap them, one at a time.
Take a look at the symbolic meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas over the next week and listen to what the Word has to say to you about their meaning in your life. How do they testify towards making your choice more heartfelt?
Maybe you can witness for us next Sunday.
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