On the twelfth day of Christmas…

The last day

If you’ve been reading along then you know I’ve been posting my thoughts about the 12 days of Christmas

If you’ve missed any days they are posted on my Fb timeline and also my website

Drum roll please…

12 Drummer Drumming

I love the sound of drums. Drums keep the heartbeat of a song. The provide the pace and the rhythm.

Thought to be the 12 tribes of Israel or perhaps the apostles creed…

1. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.

2. I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

3. Jesus was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.

4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.

5. On the third day He rose again.

6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.

7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.

8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,

9. The holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,

10. The forgiveness of sins,

11. The resurrection of the body,

12. And the life everlasting.

You may have read my other posts the past 12 days that give alternative thoughts on what the numbers could also represent.

So here’s what I found as I dug deeper:

Interestingly, the words “twelve” and “twelfth” are used 212 times in the Bible. A large majority of these uses are connected to, and point to, the 12 sons of Jacob (who’s name was later changed to Israel), which formed the 12 tribes of Israel. The 12 sons/tribes begins in Genesis, and these “reminders,” pointing back to them, continue all the way to the last book of the Bible in Revelation.

Jesus also chose 12 apostles (also called disciples) and said that in the regeneration, the 12 apostles would sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel (Mt 19:28).

In John 11:9 Jesus said “there are 12 hours of light in the day. Whoever walks in the light will not stumble and fall because they can see with the light from the sun.” 💡 ☀️

Revelation also highlights 12.

12 stars, 12 gates, 12 angels, 12 inscriptions of the 12 tribes, 12 foundation stones, 12 pearls, and the tree of life producing fruit 12 times a year

12 is a number of completion.

It’s the number of months chosen for years, it’s the turning point for kids to become teenagers, time is measured in 2 groups of 12 hours. There are 12 inches in a foot.

Maybe these #12 thoughts from me have encouraged you to think about the song 12 Days Of Christmas in a whole new way.

Now that the song is finished – our journey still continues.

For many people – today is the day they take down Christmas decorations. The reason for the season is Jesus’ birth. Today transitions from the picture of a baby in a manger – to a man being publicly baptized and revealing that He was indeed The Son of God.

This day is considered by some groups as “Three King’s Day” – representing the wise men meeting Jesus for the first time. The Bible doesn’t say there were three wise men. It shares that there were three GIFTS. It also says these wise men (however many there were) were scientists, astronomers, and well-educated. Despite their earthly knowledge- after they met with King Herod to tell him there was a new king born – they had an epiphany (or a message) that told them to not return to Herod.

Something I found out is that in Eastern Christianity Syriac (areas near Israel, Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria) churches, they believe that there were not 3 wise men…there were 12.

When the wise men (some considered to be kings) arrived in Bethlehem – they didn’t find Jesus swaddled in a manger. The Bible says they visited Him in a house. We don’t know how long it had been since Jesus’ birth. Even Herod didn’t know which is why he ordered the killings of all boys under the age of 2 – not just newborns.

According to Matthew 2 – when the wise men arrived st the house, Mary was with baby Jesus. They had been following a star and somehow the star “stopped” and pointed to the location of Jesus. The gifts they brought were gold for His honor as the King of the universe (which likely helped Joseph and Mary since they needed to pay rent and buy food and prepare for another journey to Nazareth), Frankincense as a healing perfume and spiritual resin, and myrrh which is typically used as an anointing oil and during embalming before burial (perhaps as a prediction of the death Jesus would have but three decades later).

Did you know that in order to make frankincense and myrrh resin, a tree has to be slashed and “allowed to bleed” for the sap to form these valuable elements? They even form tear-shaped droplets. Think about that. The most common place to find these trees is in Saudi Arabia and northern Africa.

When these essential elements and oils are combined they have antiseptic properties.

After the visit, the wise men had an epiphany (a dream) that warned them not to go back to Herod, so they continued back to the lands they came from.

Epiphany

Tomorrow(Jan 6) is called Epiphany – which means a sudden flash (manifestation or appearance) of insight or revelation (understanding) of something that has become illuminated.

Perhaps reading these 12 days has opened your mind to something wider and brighter.

Lord thank You for reminding us of why you sent Jesus to the Earth, for loving us by sharing and sacrificing Your son, for forgiveness and taking our burdens, for wanting us to be united with You eternally, for continued discernment, Grace, and illumination. To You be all the glory forever. Amen.

Happy new year!

On the eleventh day of Christmas…

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these thoughts about the 12 days of Christmas!

One to go!

Today is 11

11 pipers piping

These are thought to be the 11 apostles (or sometimes called disciples) of Christ. The challenge I have with that is that there were 12. And if you include Matthias there were 13

As you’ve seen the last 10 days I’ve given alternative thoughts on what the significance of the numbers might mean

Pipers piping – this makes me think of sound – something someone wants us to hear. Music is the foreign language of our emotions and life. When playing in unison there’s harmony – otherwise you hear dissonance and discord (chaos)

Today I will go off the beaten path and suggest that the 11 may be 11 things outlined in Ecclesiastes in chapter 11 – full of wisdom and how to have a harmonious and good life.

This book was written by King Solomon – thought to be one of the wisest men who ever lived. Here’s what he said:

1. Do good wherever you go, and after a while the good will come back to you

2. Invest what you have in different things. You don’t know when bad things might happen on Earth

3. If clouds are full of rain – they will pour water on Earth

4. If a tree falls – it will stay where it falls

5. If you wait for perfect weather – you will never plant your seeds

6. If you’re afraid that every cloud will bring rain – you’ll never harvest your crops

  • (Pause)
  • You don’t know where the wind blows
  • You don’t know how a baby grows in a mothers womb
  • You don’t know what God will do and He makes everything happen!
  • 7. Begin planting early in the morning and don’t stop Til early in the evening (you don’t know what might make you rich – maybe everything you do will be successful)
  • 8. Enjoy every day of your life no matter how long you live (it’s good to be Alive. It’s nice to see the light from the sun)
  • 9. You will die. You will be dead much longer than you will be Alive – and then you can do nothing
  • 10. Enjoy yourself while you are young. Be happy and do whatever your heart leads you to do (remembering that God will judge your choices)
  • 11. Don’t let anger control you and your body be led to sin. People do foolish things in their youth.
  • Good advice. Not just for people thousands of years ago.

    Tomorrow – the last gift from The True Love

    On the tenth day of Christmas …

    10 Lords a-Leaping

    Each day I’ve been pondering what these verses mean to me.

    Could they be more than just birds and people dancing? Some schools of thought say so – and I’ve extended those thoughts to some of my own.

    Generally thought of as the 10 commandments.

    God also “said” 10 things in Genesis starting in verse 3:

    1. Let there be light, He called the light “day”, He called the dark “night”,
    2. Let there be a space between the waters, to separate the waters of the heavens from the waters of the earth, He called the space “sky”,
    3. Let the waters beneath the sky flow together into one place, so dry ground may appear, He called the dry land “land”, He called the waters “seas”,
    4. Let the land sprout with vegetation–every sort of seed-bearing plant, and trees that grow seed-bearing fruit. These seeds will then produce the kinds of plants and trees from which they came,
    5. Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night.
    6. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years, and let these lights in the sky shine down on the earth,
    7. Let the waters swarm with fish and other life.
    8. Let the skies be filled with birds of every kind, Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth,
    9. Let the earth produce every sort of animal, each producing offspring of the same kind–livestock, small animals that scurry along the ground, and wild animals,
    10. Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground, be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground,

    After all of that “leaping” – God said – “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food and I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground–everything that has life”

    10 – known as a perfect number (top 10 list, you’re a 10, countdown from 10)

    One other thought I had was what if the 10 are 10 things Jesus said about himself in the book of John – the I AM’s are:

    1. Before Abraham was, I AM,
    2. I am the bread of life which came down from heaven,
    3. I am the living bread,
    4. I am the light of the world,
    5. I am one that bears witness of myself,
    6. I am the door (gate) of the sheep,
    7. I am the good shepherd,
    8. I am the resurrection and the life,
    9. I am the way, the truth and the life and
    10. I am the true vine.

    These are just my thoughts for today

    Tomorrow – 11

    On the ninth day of Christmas…

    Each day I’ve been writing my thoughts about the 12 days of Christmas leading up to epiphany. If you’d like to read the other days they are on my Fb timeline and on my website.

    Today is 9

    Nine ladies dancing could be interpreted as the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit—–

    1. Love (Charity),
    2. Joy,
    3. Peace,
    4. Patience [Forbearance],
    5. Goodness [Gentleness/Kindness],
    6. Mildness [Goodness],
    7. Faith [Fidelity],
    8. Meekness [Modesty],
    9. Continency [Self Control/Temperance/Chastity]. (Galatians 5:22 – 23).

    9 also represents finality in the Bible. In fact Yom Kippur – considered by many Jewish people as he holiest day of the year – begins on the 9th day of the 7th Hebrew month.

    What if it means the turning point of something new – a new understanding. A gift. Gifts to be shared with others.

    It was at the 9th hour of the day that a Roman Centurion named Cornelius was told, in a vision by angels, to contact Peter. Cornelius would eventually be baptized and receive God’s spirit, becoming the first recorded Gentile convert to Christianity (Acts 10).

    Perhaps 9 represents the 9 gifts of the Holy Spirit as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12 –

    1. wisdom (wise counsel),
    2. knowledge (clear understanding and ability to speak well),
    3. faith (simple trust),
    4. power healing the sick,
    5. power (miraculous acts),
    6. prophet (proclamation),
    7. discernment (judgement of what is from the Spirit and what isn’t)
    8. speaking different languages (distinguishing between spirits and tongues), and
    9. interpretation of different languages (tongues)

    Each person is given gifts.

    The Holy Spirit determines what your gifts are. They all come from the same Spirit. God gives us these gifts to help other people. Although there are different ways God works in each of us to serve in this world and different ways to honor God – we are all serving and all honoring the same God.

    These are just my thoughts. Tomorrow – 10.

    Lord thank You today for continued illumination brightening the path back to You. Amen.

    New Beginnings…

    Each day since Christmas I’ve been writing what I think about the 12 Days of Christmas.

    Today is day 8

    To read the other days you can visit my Fb timeline or website

    8 maids a-milking

    Some say the 8 are the beatitudes

    These are 8 blessings that Jesus gave on the sermon on the mount. You can read them in Matthew – the first book of the New Testament

    Beatitude means “happiness”

    Jesus taught on love, humility, mercy, spirituality, and compassion

    If you’ve been reading my posts – you know I’ve added in my own thoughts of what the numbers mean.

    8 signifies “new beginnings” in the Bible. How apropos that today is January 1. 8 sideways is the symbol for infinity and for all things good and lovely.

    This is the first verse in the song that had no birds. Why maids milking? In 15th and 16th century England, the phrase “let’s go-a-milking” was a euphemism for “let’s get married.”

    What if this verse is about a job. Our job. The beginning of God teaching us how to get back to Him. God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. The 8th is when work began.

    Things to think about.

    Lord thank you for a new day and a new year, for discernment, and for illumination.

    Tomorrow – 9

    On the seventh day of Christmas…

    7 swans a-swimming

    Swans are interesting animals. Often known as being symbols of love – they form friendships with one another that can last a lifetime and are monogamous creatures. They feed on the land and in the water.

    As beautiful as they are – they aggressively will protect their nest and flock. Swans are highly intelligent and can remember who has been kind to them or not.

    So what about 7.

    Some articles suggest that the 7 swans represent the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit as outlined in Isaiah 11:2-3. The gifts are considered ones that the Messiah would have possessed.

    Wisdom: helps us recognize importance of others and importance of keeping God central in our lives.

    Understanding: ability to comprehend the meaning of God’s message.

    Knowledge: ability to think about and explore God’s revelation, and to recognize there are mysteries of faith beyond us.

    Counsel: ability to see the best way to follow God’s plan when we have choices that relate to him.

    Fortitude: courage to do what one knows is right.

    Piety: helps us pray to God in true devotion.

    Fear of the Lord (or wonderment): the feeling of amazement before God, who is all-present, and whose friendship we do not want to lose.

    Each day as I’ve pondered this song – I’ve tried to see if there are other meanings that strike me. So to give you some other food for thought – here’s my take for today: Jesus said 7 things right before He died on the cross.

    1. Luke 23:34 “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. At the height of his physical suffering, His love prevails – through forgiveness. Jesus even told Peter during one of their chats that you should forgive people 70 times 7 (another 7 reference).

    2. Luke 23:43 “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Ignoring his own suffering, Jesus responds with love and mercy in His second word.

    3. John 19:26 “Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.” Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.” Despite insurmountable pain and suffering – Jesus concerns are for the ones that love him.

    4. Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” In anguish, loneliness and facing death – in the 9th hour Jesus in His human-ness cries out to God. The burden of all the sins of humanity overwhelm Jesus – our Savior.

    5. John 19:28 “I thirst.” His body was now in shock from walking 3 hours with a cross – after being so severely beaten, skin ripped from His bones, and bruises disfiguring Him, now clinging to a cross with nails in His hands and feet. Beyond His physical thirst – Jesus had an incredibly important thirst to quench- the thirst for love. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

    Greater love has no man than this,

    That he lay down his life for his friends.”

    John 15:12-13

    6. John 19:29 “They put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth.

    When Jesus had received the wine, he said, “It is finished;”

    and he bowed his head and handed over the spirit.”Jesus became the sacrificial lamb for all mankind. The sixth word is Jesus’ recognition that suffering is over and His task is completed. Jesus is obedient to God the Father and gives His love for all mankind by redeeming us with His death on the Cross. The death of the human part of Jesus had to make way for the life of the Holy Spirit of Jesus to dwell within all of us who ask for it.

    7. Luke 23:46 “Jesus cried out in a loud voice,

    “Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Finality actually becomes the beginning.

    Perhaps this was Jesus’ swan song. 7 swans a swimming.

    Tomorrow – 8

    “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,

    So that everyone who believes in him

    may not perish but have eternal life.

    John 3:16

    Lord thank you for discernment in 2018 and for already providing illumination as we prepare for 2019. Amen.

    On the sixth day of Christmas…

    6 Geese a-Laying

    Why not just “laying”!?

    The a- prefix to verbs of motion, in particular, is an intensifier.

    In Aesop’s fable – a goose laid golden eggs. Rather than accepting the eggs and the production of this special goose for providing more than the farmers needed – they thought the gold was inside of her – rather than being given by her through her eggs. They killed her to cut her open only to find she was just like any other goose – and now they no longer had the gift of the golden eggs. There are lessons in all of these fables and songs if you open your mind to what you hear/read.

    Some say the 6 intensified eggs being laid in the song reference the 6 days of creation. Clearly there is not much more significant than the creation of our world and lives.

    Man was created on the sixth day. Jesus was God and man.

    A bit of architectural trivia:

    If you lay a man down flat (like on a cross for example), lie length from head to foot is six times his width across from right to left.

    Some math trivia. 6 is considered a perfect number meaning when you divide it – it is equal to the sum of its divisors. 6 in half is 3, and 2+2+2=6

    Six could also mean a few more things.

    Toward the end of His life many people, primarily Jewish religious leaders, had come to believe Jesus was guilty of some kind of crime or heinous sin. Six people, however, are recorded as stating that he was innocent of all the charges leveled against him.

    Those who found him innocent were Roman Prefect of Judea Pontius Pilate (Luke 23:14), Herod (Luke 23:15), Judas (after the devil left him – Matthew 27:3), Pontius Pilate’s wife (Matthew 27:19), one of the thieves on the cross near Christ’s (Luke 23:41) and a Roman Centurion who was at the crucifixion (Luke 23:47).

    Six people also questioned Jesus

    What about geese? When geese fly, they have to become unified as if one. Geese have enough strength to endure long flights when they are synchronized together. The more geese in a flock, the higher and faster they can fly. Geese are also birds that mate for life.

    In Jack and the Beanstalk – Jack wanted something more for his life and he had to climb very high to get it, battle a giant, all to get a golden goose egg. That was his hearts desire.

    Just some things to ponder.

    If you want to read up on my thoughts of the other days just look at my timeline.

    On the fifth day of Christmas…

    5 Gold Rings

    Why is the music of this verse so different from the rest? It’s to point our attention to it more than any other verse.

    This song is about our True Love giving gifts.

    As I thought of this verse – I started to ponder what it could reveal.

    Some say the 5 rings represent the first 5 chapters of the Old Testament of the Bible.

    For me – those are extraordinarily significant – but not the end of the story – just the beginning and foretelling of something beautiful to come.

    The most significant gift from Our Father – was His Son. So what does it have to do with 5 rings?

    Gold rings are most commonly known as wedding bands. The circle of a ring is the symbol of eternity, with no beginning or end (traces back as early as Egyptians). The hole in the center of the ring also has significance. It as not an empty space, but rather a gateway, or door; leading to things and events both known and unknown.

    The rings in the song may signify never-ending and immortal love.

    Jesus was pierced 5 times. His hands and feet were nailed to a cross, and his side was pierced with a sword to ensure he was dead. He was mocked, spat upon, beaten, whipped, and ultimately put to death.

    John the Baptist (John 3:29) referred to Jesus as the bridegroom and himself as the best man.

    In biblical times – it was tradition for the bride to be separated from the groom until the wedding. The responsibility of both is to love, cherish and honor one another.

    Starting in the last chapter of the Bible (Revelation) the unification of people and Jesus (God) takes place.

    Something I found interesting was Jesus told a parable of 10 virgins going to meet their grooms. Only 5 were ready and prepared. The question is – what is the significance of 5? This could have a reference to the number 10 in the Bible being symbolic of the law of God and the number 5 being symbolic of God’s grace.

    Job 23:10, Job 28:12, 15-17, Proverbs 3:14, 16:16, 22:1

    Lord please grant me wisdom and continued enlightenment. Thank You for all things. Amen.

    Revelation 2:29 is a comfort knowing He is coming for us soon.

    Lord thank you for continued illumination.

    On the fourth day of Christmas…

    4 calling birds

    (If you want to read my synopsis of the first 3 days of Christmas you can see them on my timeline.)

    Could be the first 4 gospels of the New Testament.

    Interestingly – although we sing “calling birds” – the original song lyrics are “colley” birds which means common blackbirds. Ordinary birds.

    The 4 gospels were written by ordinary men (albeit inspired by God). It took 12 disciples (12 days of Christmas?) to spread the message of Jesus Christ across the entire world. There are more songs written about Him, and more books sold and about Him than anything else. I thought that alone was fascinating! Jesus even influenced time separating BC from AD.

    Back to the blackbirds. They were food for people. A strange gift to gift someone – but nourished them nonetheless. I read in one article that blackbirds symbolize intelligence, wisdom and joy.

    The Bible is sometimes referred to as daily bread and Jesus often says that His food comes from above.

    If they weren’t common blackbirds – what if they were Ravens? Ravens are known as the most intelligent birds on earth. Raven calls express a wide range of emotion, including tenderness, happiness and rage. They display high learning ability and use logic to solve problems, even beating chimpanzees in many tests. When a raven caws – it sounds like “cras, cras” which in Latin translates to “tomorrow”. Tomorrow is coming!

    In Greek mythology, ravens are associated with Apollo, the god of prophecy. They are said to be a symbol of good luck, and were the god’s messengers in the mortal world to reveal signs.

    Countless cultures point to the raven as a harbinger of powerful secrets. Moreover, the raven is a messenger too, so its business is in both keeping and communicating deep mysteries.

    Birds are fascinating. They are free to roam to earth and the sky. Many cultures believe that they are a symbol of eternal life; the link between heaven and earth.

    Here in Florida – there are tons of birds visiting us before they fly north again. I love to hear them signing and talking with each other in the mornings.

    So – as we sing on the 4th day of Christmas – I hope you found this interesting to think about.

    Thank you Lord for continued illumination.

    On the third day of Christmas

    “On the 3rd day of Christmas my True Love gave to me – 3 French Hens, 2 Turtle Doves, and a partridge in a pear tree”

    We explored the first day representing Christ – and the 2nd day representing the two parts of the Bible – old and new testaments

    But what about hens?

    French hens are very special. They are no longer grown for food – but for show. They produce up to 240 eggs per year and are very gentle and docile even being used as pets for children. They were very expensive.

    Some say the 3 hens represent God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Some say they represent faith, hope and love. Today I’m going to suspect it means the significance of the three gifts the magi (wise men) brought to Jesus when He was born.

    Gold – a very precious and expensive material befitting royalty. Gold is valuable, beautiful, and long-lasting and representative of the nature of Christ – it resists corrosion and cannot tarnish. It could be assumed that the gold that was given could also have paid for the expensive trip Joseph had to take his family on. Some researchers say that gold would not have been found in the east where the magi traveled from – it could have represented turmeric – the most powerful herb on the planet for fighting and reversing disease. Awesome.

    Frankincense – very expensive and used to honor kings typically through aromatherapy (incense). I personally use this essential oil daily. It’s known for a variety of health benefits, including helping relieve chronic stress and anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, boosting immunity, and even fighting cancer. Some people believe inhaling frankincense can give you peace and a closer spiritual connection.

    Myrhh- what a bittersweet gift (it means “bitter”). Used for embalming rituals – this could be been in prediction of Christ’s death. It was also used for healing wounds and to slow down bleeding.

    Here’s an interesting thought – when frankincense and myrrh are mixed together – they have a significant antimicrobial effect. Jesus was born in a barn and placed in a feeding trough. Not a sanitary place for the King of the Universe. Perhaps they were able to use the substances to protect the baby.

    In summation – the three gifts were useful, precious, and honored a king. The only gifts God wants from us are for us to love Him and for us to love others. The magi gave rare and valuable gifts – the best they could give. We should do our best to honor God with our best as well. In return for following His commandments we are blessed with His atoning sacrifice, His grace, His mercy, and His love – and most importantly – entryway to heaven for eternity.

    Praise be to God. Glory to God in the highest. May we strive for peace on earth and goodwill toward men.

    Thank you Lord for continued illumination.