Luke Chapter 2 Verses 15-21
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,
18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.
Over the month of December we shall see the nativity story in school plays, in displays at church or in pictures etc. As I thought of the story of Jesus’ birth, I began to remember verse 19 of the above passage of scripture “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. It made me think of the births of my own children. If you are a parent you will know the joy and love you feel when, at last the baby is born. There have been the discomforts of pregnancy and the pain of labour, yet all that is suddenly forgotten in this wonderful moment. Then I remember all the wishes for this child, that seem to come in a rush of pride and hope for their future. Mary was a devout woman. She would have believed the angel’s words, that her Son would be the Saviour of the world. But as I have learned in life, God unfolds the future slowly as we go along. He shows us what to do only a step at a time. He doesn’t show us what will happen to us all at once. He leads us step by step, one day(or even hour) at a time. When Jesus was born, Mary would have known that He was to be the promised Saviour. She probably would not have known, at that time, how this was to happen but she must have beem filled with love, joy and wonderment. I think everyone thanks God for the safe delivery of their child. Every child is a miracle sent by God and He loves each one. Each one has a special part to fulfil in the world.
Explanation of the Twelve days of Christmas Song.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
On the twelfth day of Christmas,
my true love sent to me
Twelve drummers drumming,
Eleven pipers piping,
Ten lords a-leaping,
Nine ladies dancing,
Eight maids a-milking,
Seven swans a-swimming,
Six geese a-laying,
Five golden rings,
Four calling birds,
Three French hens,
Two turtle doves,
And a partridge in a pear tree!
The twelve days of Christmas, as a festival, have a long history. According to one source, it was first mentioned as a festal tide by the eastern Father, Ephraem Syrus, at the end of the fourth century, and was declared to be such by the western Council of Tours in 567 A.D. The laws of Ethelred (991-1016) ordained it to be a time of peace and concord among Christian men, when all strife must cease — perhaps the beginning of the traditional Christmas truces observed up through World War I. The twelve days count from Christmas day to the feast of the Epiphany, January 6.
This song has its origins as a children’s game of forfeits; if one of the children fail to recall the full listing, then the child shall pay a small “forfeit.” These are the words in The Nursery Rhymes of England, James Orchard Halliwell
THE first day of Christmas
My mother sent to me, A partridge in a pear-tree.
The second day of Christmas… Two turtle doves
Three French hens
Four canary birds
Five gold rings,
Six geese a laying,
Seven swans a swimming,
Eight ladies dancing,
Nine lords a leaping,
Ten ships a sailing,
Eleven ladies spinning,
Twelve bells ringing.
Religious symbolism of The Twelve Days of Christmas.
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.
It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
True Love refers to God
1 The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch” the Torah or Law, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments – Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes. *
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments. **
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles. ***
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed. ****
* The Beatitudes Matthew Chapter 5 verses 3-12
Introduction to the Sermon on the Mount
1 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them. He said:
* The Beatitudes
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
** The Ten Commandments
Exodus Chapter 20
1 And God spoke all these words:
2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
3 “You shall have no other gods before me.
4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.
5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,
6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.
9 Six days you shall labour and do all your work,
10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.
11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
12 “Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.
13 “You shall not murder.
14 “You shall not commit adultery.
15 “You shall not steal.
16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour.
17 “You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbour.”
18 When the people saw the thunder and lightning and heard the trumpet and saw the mountain in smoke, they trembled with fear. They stayed at a distance 19 and said to Moses, “Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die.”
20 Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.
*** The 11 Apostles
Matthew chapter 10 verses 1-4
1 Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.
2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;
3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
4 Simon the Zealot. (and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.)
**** The Apostles Creed
I BELIEVE in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
I recommend that you watch The Revelation TV Channel on Sky channel number 581 or Freesat channel 692 and Roku Box UK and USA. You can also watch programmes on their website at http://www.revelationtv.com/ They are a Christian channel. They have live, interactive programmes, which are wonderful for people who are lonely, and many programmes that help people learn about the love of God and how to live the Christian life. The presenters and guests make you feel that you are part of the Church family. They have really helpful programmes to help people grow in their Christian life. Their programmes also help you if you are not sure about your faith and want to understand more. They have live interactive programmes too. These are really good if you are lonely, afraid or worried. We all go through times when we need spiritual help. They also have programmes where you can send your prayer requests.
If you feel you need God in your life and you don’t know how to find Him and you feel alone, lost, guilty and frightened, I recommend the website from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association http://www.PeaceWithGod.net