In Belgium and the Netherlands (and many other places) we celebrate two days of Christmas. Both the 25th and the 26th are holidays (in the Netherlands the stores are closed, in both countries the banks are closed). But of course the ‘second day of Christmas’ gets me thinking in musical terms and I end up with two turtle doves. And that is what is so intriguing.
Turtle doves are symbolic for romantic love. You will see them in logo’s for weddings. We say things like, “Oh, look at the turtle doves.” And this time of year is a time of love. Shirley and I were married on the 21st. Stephan and Natalie on the 22nd. Although I imagine few get married on the 26th, this period is one of sharing and remembering the love we have for each other.
Two turtle doves were also the offer that Joseph and Mary brought to the temple when Jesus was born to redeem him as the first born male. They were faithful in worshipping God with their lives. So this is a time of family, of loving one another as we love God. The doves even show up in films like Home Alone 2, testifying to this element. We enjoy being together with heavenly-made family at this time as well as sharing via technology with family around the world.
And God, who knows us all and wants all to be able to come to Him, was gracious in the sacrifices required of the Israelites. The doves were so that everyone, even those who were less well off, could offer and be in good standing with God. How ironic – or simply prophetic – that this simple offer is all that was required while it was Jesus who actually brought the ultimate offer and redeemed Joseph and Mary – and all of us. Those simple doves remind me of the beautiful, gracious love that Jesus Christ showed and shows to us all, even today.
So I really like the second day of Christmas. Don’t quite know what to make of all those leaping, milking folks later on, but those two turtle doves are quite a picture!
Enjoy this day, knowing that God loves you and wants you to be with Him, every day. He has done everything necessary to make this possible – now all that is needed is your (and my) willingness to accept Him.
Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christʼs physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. Colossians 1:21-23