Today we celebrate the First Day of Christmas. To celebrate this most special day we are providing you with Christmas Lessons and Carols (please click link). Please enjoy this worship.
Carols or caroling are usually associated with Christmastime. The meaning of the word “carol” as a noun is a song of joy. As a verb, it means to sing in an especially joyful manner. Although we have happy songs and sing upbeat tunes throughout the year, Christmas capitalizes on carols.
Another word Christmas seems to have a monopoly on its use is “noel.” English speakers borrowed the word from the French who, in turn, derived it from the original Latin word, “natalis.” It means birthday. Though we do not mark loved one’s birthdays on calendars as “noels,” we probably only remember the word through the carol “First Noel,” which proclaims the birth of Christ celebrated today.
Yes, today is the First Day of Christmas. It is the beginning of the Twelve Days of the Christmas Season. We may not give much thought to the twelve days beyond enjoying that familiar Christmas carol bearing that title. The twelve days begins with the observance of the birth of Christ until the eve of the Epiphany, the time the Maji presented three gifts to Our Lord.
The “Twelve Days of Christmas” is an interesting carol. Talk about gift giving! If you plan on having your true love giving you the prescribed gifts, I suggest you have plenty of cages and coups available. If you tally up your new feathered pets on the Day of Epiphany, you will find yourself in possession of 184 birds! That’s 42 swans, 42 geese, 36 calling birds, 30 French hens, 22 turtle doves, and 12 partridges. Plus, you will need plenty of table settings for your guests at the table, 140 to be exact (12 drummers, 22 pipers, 30 lords, 36 ladies, and 40 maids). The bonus is 40 golden rings.
Feel free to check the math. If the numbers pique your curiosity in this carol, please know that this song was first published in England in 1780 without music. It is believed to be of French origin, with today’s familiar tune coming from a 1909 arrangement by English composer Frederic Austin. Some scholars believe the poem was written by clerics with codes to disguise their teachings. Some suggestions include the one partridge representing Jesus; two turtle doves – the Old and New Testament; three French hens – faith, hope, love; four calling birds – four Gospel writers…
We will gather again for worship for the First Sunday of Christmas – the Third Day of Christmas – on Sunday, December 27th at 10:30 AM for our outdoor, drive-in worship (half-hour). Please join us and invite your true love to accompany you. We’ll also make room for your accumulated ten birds (3 French hens, 4 turtle doves, 3 partridges), but we ask you to place them in cages.