I am in love with the idea of Christmastide. To rejoice in Christmas into the new year is fantastic. I am rescued from dismal post-Christmas days and have reason to continue rejoicing.
Back when I was growing up, my family relished the Christmas holiday as we rejoiced in the birth of our Savior. All the anticipation and excitement culminated in the climactical Christmas celebration, ending in a single day. But the let-down the day after was always excruciating, especially for a young child. It wasn't that Christmastide was forgotten, just overlooked.
Which is why I cherish the Church and its traditions and seasons. Our tree is still up; the candles are still lit; Christ is here and exalted. We are relishing Christmas. Alleluia, alleluia!
Thanks to our dear Princeton friend, J, who enlightened me today on the symbolism in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas". You may learn a thing or two as well.
1. Partridge in a Pear Tree: Christ
2. Two Turtle Doves: Old and New Testament
3. Three French Hens: the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love
4. Four Calling Birds: the four Gospels
5. Five Golden Rings: the five books of the Torah in the Old Testament
6. Six Geese A-Laying: the six days of Creation
7. Seven Swans A-Swimming: the gifts of the Holy Spirit, e.g., ministry, prophecy, exhortation, teaching, compassion, giving, leading AND the seven sacraments (can’t forget them!)
8. Eight Maids A-Milking: the Beatitudes
9. Nine Ladies Dancing: the fruit of the Holy Spirit, e.g., love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control
10. Ten Lords A-Leaping: the ten commandments
11. Eleven Pipers Piping: the eleven faithful Apostles
12. Twelve Drummers Drumming: the twelve tenants of faith found in the Apostles Creed