Friday, January 06, 2012

It's Epiphany/ Twelve Days of Christmas Song

We enjoy celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas. We started celebrating Epiphany before we started celebrating the Twelve Days because we read somewhere about another family's Epiphany traditions that we wanted to add to our family's collection of traditions.

We started our celebrating Epiphany by moving our wise men slowly from Christmas to Epiphany towards the nativity set. We have quite an entourage of wise men. I think that we have about 8 of them along with a couple of camels and an alpaca. Sometimes the elephants join the entourage too ;)

On Epiphany we generally eat Chinese take out (because the wise men came from the East) and we usually give each of the kids 3 small gifts (because the wise men brought 3 gifts to the baby Jesus).

The last couple of years we have been in Wyoming for Christmas so on Epiphany is when we gave our kids the gifts that we had gotten for them.

A few years ago we picked up The 12 Days of Christmas the story behind the favorite christmas song at a book closeout store and we have enjoyed reading through it with the kids on the twelve days between Christmas and Epiphany. The premise behind the book is that it is a song to teach children basic Christian beliefs. Here is the run down that I've posted on facebook based on these readings and my own thoughts about them:
On the first day of Christmas my True Love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree. Thank You Jesus for dying on the cross for me!
On the second day of Christmas my True Love gave to me two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree. According to our book the turtledoves are to represent the two doves Mary and Joseph sacrificed when they presented Jesus at the temple. Jesus definitely wasn't born into a rich family. I'm thankful He was willing to give up the splendor of heaven to be born into a poor family so He could identify with all of us.
On the third day of Christmas my True Love gave to me three French hens... French hens used to cost much more than ordinary chickens and they remind us of the three costly gifts (fit for a King - the King of kings!) that were given to Jesus by the wise men.
On the fourth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me four calling birds... Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each wrote the story calling us to believe in Jesus. Each of the gospels tell the story of Jesus from a different perspective and were written "that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in His name." Jn 20:31
On the fifth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me five golden rings.... The 5 rings represent the Torah, the Pentatauch, the Law, the first 5 books of the Bible which the Jewish people consider 5 treasures worth more than gold. I love the Law because it shows me that there is NO WAY that I can do anything to gain God's acceptance on my own. I desparately need a Savior to cover my sin. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!
On the sixth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me six geese a-laying.... Eggs hold new life. The Bible tells us of 6 days of new life - creation! Creation is so amazing! "For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." (Romans 1:20 NLT) Thanks God for creation!
On the seventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me seven swans a-swimming.... The seven swans are to remind us of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that help us to grow and serve others - prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership and showing mercy. Thanks God for the spiritual gifts You've given me. Please help me to use them for Your glory.
On the eighth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me eight maids a-milking.... They are to remind us of the eight Beatitudes in Matthew 5. Looking at them again tonight they are so contrary to how we normally think. Who would ever think that the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those persecuted for their faith should be considered blessed? In our culture we consider them cursed. In God's eyes they are blessed because this world is not the end and I'm so glad.
On the ninth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me nine ladies dancing.... The nine ladies dancing are to remind us of the nine qualities that the Holy Spirit produces in our lives - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. I used to work hard at trying to live out these characteristics. This fall I came to the realization that these are God's c...haracteristics. Just like my kids act like me (the good and the bad) because they spend so much time with me if I want to act like God I need to spend time with Him. The more time I spend with Him the more like Him I will become. It was freeing. It's not about me trying hard but the Holy Spirit working in and through me spending time time with my Best Friend.
On the tenth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me ten lords a-leaping.... Lords were important men whose commands had to be obeyed. The ten lords are to remind us of the ten commandments that show us how to love God and others.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my True Love gave to me eleven pipers piping.... Pipers were men who traveled around and played their pipes causing children all over town to follow them. Twelve disciples followed Jesus but only eleven faithfully stayed with Him. The eleven pipers remind us to faithfully follow Jesus and pipe the song of God's love everywhere we go.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my True Love gave to me twelve drummers drumming. Drummers keep a steady beat so that everyone stays together. The twelve drummers remind us of the twelve beliefs that most Christians have in common known as the Apostles Creed. "I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy ...Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father. He shall return to judge both the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting." Rich Mullins' song Creed has been going through my head all day. I believe it!
A friend gave me a link to a play based on the book that I may have the kids do as we celebrate the Twelve Days next year :)

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