I certainly don’t possess a strong singing voice, but “The Twelve Days of Christmas” is one song I can sing with abandon. It’s one of my favorites, in fact, and there are some fun and easy family activities that work nicely to bring life and deeper understanding of the lyrics.
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree. The pear tree is said to symbolize the cross and the partridge Christ because a mother partridge will risk her life to save her offspring by luring predators away from her nest. I’ve yet to see a partridge at the local grocery store, but pears are abundant. Try combining your favorite cheeses with sliced pears, nuts, fresh bread and spiced tea for a weekend lunch.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves. Doves remind us of the Old and New Testaments, but may also represent the doves that were required as an offering when a 13-year-old son was dedicated in an ancient temple. Because doves today represent peace, talk about ways to create peace in your household and neighborhood. It’s important to address the issue this time of year, when family events, high expectations and breaks in routine often produce unwelcome stresses.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me three French hens. While the hens historically symbolize the Trinity, they may also stand for the virtues of faith, hope and love. Day three may be the perfect time to try your hand at preparing Cornish game hens. They’re commonly found in the frozen food section and Emeril Legasse’s five-star recipe, easily down loaded off the Food Network website, would make for a simple and deliciously themed meal.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me four calling birds. These simple birds represent Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and their Gospel accounts of Christ’s life and ministry. Why not deepen the experience by grabbing your cell phone and giving a quick call to someone you’ve not talked with in sometime. “I’ve been thinking about you!” is a great gift to someone this holiday season.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me five golden rings. These rings are said to represent the first five books of the Old Testament, called the Pentateuch. Consider giving each member of your immediate family a piece of paper on which they can record five favorite things: a Christmas memory, teacher, food, etc. It’ll make for a great conversation and help guide you to some meaningful Christmas activities or gift giving.
We still have seven days to honor, but no space left this week. We’ll do that next Saturday. In the meantime, embrace the rapid approach of Christmas by spotlighting some of these lovely traditions and incorporating a few into your own holiday planning. Faithful living is often about deep, meaningful fun.