Pastor’s Email Devotion
The Week of Christmas 2
January 3, 2016
But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. (Luke 2:10-11, NRSV)
The Tenth Day of Christmas … today. Have you kept track? Most likely, the answer is “no.” Few do. The Twelve Days of Christmas is typically pre-Christmas fare. Although the exact origins of the song are a little vague, if those who say they know can be believed, it originated as a children’s memory game. The version most of us sing dates to a 1909 arrangement of a traditional folk melody by English composer Frederic Austin. It was Austin who displaced “pipers piping”, “cocks a crowing”, “drummers drumming” and “asses racing” from the previous forty years of song versions, with “lords a leaping”, last heard in an 1867 version.
Who cares, right? Right! Since the last five gifts have migrated around the final five days of Christmas since the song’s supposed composition in 1780, I’m not so enamored of these danseurs or the day on which they leaped. But I find it ironic that the one song we have that addresses all twelve days of the Christmas season, is completely ignored during those twelve days. The song has company, I suspect. Most of us were “done” with Christmas a couple of days after singing the final refrain of Silent Night. By December 27th, it was all about getting ready for New Year’s. And yet as we lay our heads upon our pillows tonight, there are yet two full days of Christmas remaining. Why the rush to move past it? This is arguably the second most important Christian festival after Easter Sunday. Without Jesus’ birth, we have no salvific resurrection. And yet we arrive at the holy day itself, and proceed to jettison the remaining eleven days like so much torn wrapping paper and crumbled bows.
So in your prayer life this week, why not think a bit about the gift of the Savior in a manger, now that all the gifts and cards and carols and post-Christmas sales are done. Think about the unadulterated risk God took in entering the world as a fragile child … for you. Think about the humility a deity accepted in entering the fallen flesh of humanity … for you. Think about the imitations God accepted on Godself, but stepping into human flesh … for you. At the risk of questioning the logic of the historic Church, maybe twelve days are not too many, but not enough. The gift of the Incarnation … that of God taking on our flesh … is the gift that equips every other blessing Christ brings to our lives. You have two days left. Why not consider a few prayers and some reflection on what that gift means for your life.
Almighty God and Father of light, a child is born to us and a Son is given to us. Your eternal Word leaped down from heaven in the silent watches of the night, and now your Church is filled with wonder at the nearness of her God. Open our hearts to receive His life and increase our vision with the rising of dawn, that our lives may be filled with His glory and His peace, who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
~~Christmas Prayer, from
The International Committee on English in the Liturgy