Friday, December 20, 2013

The real meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas

On Ask The Pastor, this comes up almost every year at Christmas, and people have asked me for this, so here it is... the real meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas...

It dates from a time of religious persecution. The song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," was written as a kind of secret catechism that could sing in public without fear of arrest - a learning or memory aid to Christians in fact. The song can be taken at two levels of interpretation - the surface meaning, or the hidden meaning known only to the Christians involved. Each element is a code word for a religious truth.
1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.
3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.
5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law), or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament.
6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.
11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.
12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed. 
If you think Jesus being symbolized as a partridge in a pear tree sounds blasphemous, remember: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so." (Luke 13:34 and Matthew 23:34) The "true love" in the song refers to God Himself. The "me" receiving the gifts is every Christian. So that "silly" song we sing at Christmas time has more meaning than we thought.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Funny Christmas videos

I love a good laugh, and there are some videos that make me laugh right now as we approach Christmas, here's my list:

Mr. Bean's Nativity scene

The Skit Guys The Brothers Marley

The Santa Clause with Tim Allen - it's the trailer, but the movies make me laugh! All 3 of them!

There are others, but these are my favourites. If you haven't seen the movies of the Santa Clause (yes all 3) and Mr Bean's Christmas? You have a lot of catching up to do!

Yes, I know Christmas is all about Jesus and his birth, there is some fun we can have too though. Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Dealing with loss at Christmas

This thought came ringing true this week while I was on the air. A listener had heard the song by Chris Tomlin "I Will Rise" and called in about it. It was touching to him as he had just lost his mother within the past week. It reminded me that there are a lot of people this time of year who deal with loss - whether as our listener this week with very recent loss, or as others who I know are remembering someone they lost about this time of year in the past. 

Some churches have memorial services to remember those who have gone on before us at this time of year to help ease the pain of loss so that Christmas isn't a sad memory for them, but rather a celebration still of Jesus and of the life of the person they lost.

How can people have peace this time of year when dealing with loss? The loss of a loved one or a job or something else? We turn to God. Only we as believers have hope beyond the pain, it is a hope that only Jesus can give through the power of the Holy Spirit. As John 14:27 says, 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

We are given a peace in times of trials and loss that the world simply cannot understand apart from Christ. So to those who are dealing with loss this time of year, of loved ones or employment or something else, may the Lord be with you at this time. I don't say that as a pat answer, but to encourage you that there is hope and peace that you can claim in Jesus today. 

God bless.