Dear fellow redeemed,
One of the many yearly Christmas traditions we Americans now have is figuring out how much it would cost to buy all the items mentioned in the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” Well, according to an online article from USA Today on Nov. 15th of this year, it would cost you $39,094.93 to buy all 364 gifts, $450 more than last year. Why so much? Well, the ten Lords-a-Leaping alone will set you back $10,000! Maybe if you change it to ten Toads-a-Leaping you could save some money! And speaking of saving money—maybe you think buying online would be cheaper. WRONG! Shopping online would cost you $41,165.95, which is $2,071.02 more than it would cost to get everything in-store.
Putting the cost of things aside for a moment, the twelve days of Christmas really do exist. The first day of Christmas is, of course, December 25th, and when the twelve days of Christmas conclude on January 5th, the next day is Epiphany! (Strange that by the second day of Christmas you can’t find the song on the radio to save your life!)
But how does the church observe the twelve days of Christmas? Certainly not by buying drummers drumming, ladies dancing, or geese a-laying. No, on the first day of Christmas the church rejoices in God’s greatest gift given to mankind—the very Son of God, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. It is not what we give that is of utmost importance, but what we have been given by the almighty God—the gift of Himself.
On the second day of Christmas, the church remembers St. Stephen, the young man of Jerusalem who was stoned to death for professing Jesus to be the promised Savior and Lord (Acts 6:1-8:3). It may seem odd to observe the killing of a believer in Christ the day after Christmas, but the stark contrast helps illuminate why Jesus was born in the first place.
On the third day of Christmas, the church remembers St. John, the Apostle and Evangelist, who was called by Jesus to follow Him as he was fishing on the Sea of Galilee (Luke 5:1-11). It was John who was an eyewitness of Jesus’ miracles, transfiguration, crucifixion, the resurrected Jesus, and His ascension. John also is the apostle who was given the visions of heaven which he wrote down in the book of Revelation. St. John helps us to see the glory awaiting all those who believe in Christ and hold that faith until death.
On the fourth day of Christmas, the church remembers the Holy Innocents, the baby boys who were executed in Bethlehem by order of wicked king Herod (Matthew 2:1-18). These innocent baby boys, two-years old and younger, where the first ones to be killed because of the birth of Christ. Again, this event shows that the arrival of the babe of Bethlehem was not then, and still is not today, good news of great joy for all people.
That ends the common observances of the days of Christmas for the church. Not very joyful, is it? But yet it is. For in the coming of the holy infant there is the promise of life after death for all who believe. That is something to sing about!