Here is a suggestion anyone attempting to eliminate snacks from your diet after 6 p.m. on the days leading up to the Christmas holiday. One common decoration found in many homes is a nativity set featuring Joseph, Mary, the baby Jesus lying in a manger, and a host of other figures that were drawn to the place of our Savior’s birth. Instead of grabbing a handful of Christmas cookies and washing them down with a glass of eggnog, why not abstain from munching and add a figurine to the manger scene each day instead. As you are adding the figurine, reflect on something you are thankful for. Perhaps you will feel inspired to pray for someone also.
For those who do not consider themselves people of faith, you could substitute adding an ornament to your Christmas tree. Make a deliberate ritual out of it. While you’re adding the ornament, could set your mind to recall a song such as The twelve days of Christmas and add an ornament each day while reflecting on family or friends. Additionally, you can try to come up with a good deed you could do for someone else in keeping with the spirit of giving.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Psalm 42:5
As the Christmas season approaches, I am reminded again of Brody’s response to the lawn decorations popping up in our community. On our walk today Brody and I happened upon a couple of life-size inflatable white bears. They’re a close representation of the bears found in Coca-Cola television commercials. When Brody spotted them, he launched into a barking frenzy and ignored all attempts to calm him down. In his mind these ornaments were an intrusion into his world.
Over the past several years, I have been attempting to put together a book of self-examination inspired by the dogs I’ve called my own. I observed their responses to the events in their lives, which caused me to reflect on events in my own life. I’m learning a lot “when the dogs bark.”
Today’s experience with Brody and the white bears reminds me of how my mind reacts similarly to intrusions in my life. I do not like (or want) uninvited intrusions. I rush to judge strangers and wrestle with any changes to the status quo. Fortunately for me, I have the freedom to access a book that helps me put life back into perspective. For that, I’m most thankful.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four calling birds. An old English version of the song refers to them as “colly” birds. Colly, refers to something covered with coal dust, something completely black. After taking a quick tour of the internet I gathered the following information on colly birds:
They are most likely blackbirds. Wikipedia states blackbirds unlike many other black creatures, are not normally seen as a symbol of bad luck. They have the ability to sleep effectively with half their brain while the other half maintains a degree of alertness. Unlike migratory fowl, blackbirds remain during the winter if food is available.
In the theological version of Twelve Days of Christmas, four colly birds represent the four Gospels found in the Bible. To this Wikipedia adds: “The symbolicmeaningofblackbirdsis eternally linked to the “darkvs light” phases of the moon. I’m talking nocturnal awareness. … Thebirdis symbolic of life in the heavens (higher ideals, higher path of knowing) and the colorblackis symbolic of pure potential.”
The gift my true love gave symbolizes her faithfulness and commitment to our relationship, ever watchful to protect it no matter the season of life. Together we will prosper with the wisdom and blessings from heaven.
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:25-27
The lyrics of the song continue…”On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three French hens.” Some suggest this is a theological reference to three virtues of the Christian faith: Faith, Hope and Charity.
From an animal husbandry prospective, a French breed of chicken, or Faverolles, are well adapted both to captivity. And were the egg-producing poultry of choice centuries ago. Today these docile creatures they serve more as an ornamental and exhibition breed. Children love the French hens because they make excellent pets.
I consider the gift of 3 French hens a generous gift, symbolizing both a practical and prosperous future. Like love, the gift can multiply and sustain itself.
“On the second day of Christmas my true love gave me two turtle doves.”
From what I’ve read, the term turtle dove refers to a group of old world doves that includes ringed doves and mourning doves. In literature they are associated with innocence, purity and enduring love. The bird utters a sweet, mournful call, arriving on the scene in the early spring and staying until late in the summer. They are dedicated to their mate and offspring.
I see the gift of a pair of turtle doves given to me by my true love as a gesture of commitment, love and faithfulness to me. It is an enduring and desirable gift in an age littered with disposable relationships.
My lover said to me, “Rise up, my darling! Come away with me, my fair one! Look, the winter is past, the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come, and the cooing of turtledoves fills the air.” Song of Solomon 2:10-12 NLT