Armodoxy for Today: Partridge in a Pear Tree – Advent
Christmas carols happen to be one of my favorite genres of music; however, usually by December 25th most of us have had our fill. Reprogramming our car radio button away from 24/7 Christmas carols might be easy enough, but don’t erasing your playlists too quickly, because today is the first day of Christmas and you know what that means… 12 days of Christmas with drummers drumming, maids a milking, gold rings and of course, a partridge in a pear tree.
Between December 25 and January 6 there are 12 days. It has been said that in early centuries, pilgrims who would go to pray at the sight of Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem would travel to the River Jordan, to offer their prayers at this place of His Baptism. The travel time by foot was approximately 12 days. In some churches the visitation of the Magi (gold, frankincense, and myrrh) is celebrated on January 6 justifying the elaborate gifting pattern during the 12 days of Christmas is expressed in the song. For the Armenian Church, the Nativity and the events to the Baptism are remembered on January 6. But calendar considerations are not what drives Armodoxy (#56). The 12 days of Christmas are the last sprint we have on the Advent Journey we began over a month ago.
Listen to the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” It is one of the favorite sing-along songs because each verse builds on the previous verse. We begin today with the partridge in a pear tree. Each day is a gift of value. Each day has a beauty to it, albeit in the eye of the beholder, but we can all agree that there is beauty and value to be found in each gift.
As we wind down our Advent Journey we come back to the tangible world we inhabit. Christianity is about the spiritual plane, yes, but it is grounded in the physical dimension as well. In other words what we learn from the spiritual lessons, we have to apply to our life in this world. For instance, we learn about loving one another, but this is not a concept, it is a way of life and therefore, we must practice the “loving one another” on the relationship we have in our lifetime.
As we go through the last 12 days before Christmas, we see a real world that is hurting. There are wars, some small, some large, but all of them are devastating. They strip us of our humanity. We live in a time where the need for peace is essential to our survival as a civilization. Countries and governments have the capability of obliterating our world and our planet many times over. These countries and governments are made up of people. The partridge in pear tree is a call to all of us to be attentive to the need to harbor peace and goodwill among one another. The greatest threat to our planet and our existence as a human race is our inability to understand one another. Jesus Christ, revealed in our midst, is for us to understand that we are all his children, as such we are all united with one another through blood and spirit. If God so loves us, and if God seeks to understand us, and if God gives us a path to understand Him, then the only logical next step is for us to love and understand one another. This knowledge, is the first step toward peace.
We appeal to the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi, Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love. For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.