Today is the second day of Christmas! I realize that some may have already hauled their Christmas trees out of their homes and turned off the festive music, but the celebration is not over yet! The twelve days of Christmas begins on Christmas Day and culminates with Epiphany on January 6, the traditional day that the magi brought gifts to Jesus. So, let’s use this time to explore what the birthday boy (Jesus) taught and do our best to align it with the The 12 Days of Christmas song.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves. These doves came in a pair, which reminds me of a story in Luke 10.
Those who wanted to follow Jesus (at the time that Jesus lived on Earth), were told that this would be a difficult road (Luke 9). They would have to deny family responsibilities and even take up crosses (figuratively or otherwise) to follow him. Some wanted to follow Jesus, the miracle worker, gifted teacher, and healer, but he made it clear that there was a cost to follow him. When Jesus called his disciples, they left everything to follow him (Matthew 4, Mark 2, Luke 5).
In Luke 10, Jesus sends out people in pairs (remember: two turtle doves) to tell the good news. He gave them instructions, telling them to depend on others for their provisions. They weren’t to take money or even extra clothes! Jesus told the messengers to tell the good news, that the Kingdom of has come near to you (Luke 10:9). Whether these messengers received a welcome greeting or an unfavorable response, they were not to waver from sharing this message.
It’s important that we, as Christians, understand that some in the world will accept the message of Jesus while others will reject it. Our message should not change (nor should we elaborate on or change what Jesus said), based on the response (or potential response) from friends, strangers, or society.
So, what does this mean for those of us living in the 21st Century? The instructions Jesus gave the 72 messengers still applies to us today. We should depend on God to meet our needs. We should share the same message of good news with everyone we meet, whether the response is favorable or not.
This can be tricky, especially in our society. Traditional Judeo-Christian values are challenged daily in the news, in our workplaces, and even in our children’s schools. So, how do we handle this? We have choices to make, and there are some options.
- We can quietly hold true to our values (the truths that Jesus taught), never speaking up when our values are challenged or questioned.
- We can hold true to our values and kindly speak up when the truth of Jesus’s teaching is challenged.
- We can adjust our values based on what society tells us is right or wrong, which means that we waiver from the truth that Jesus taught. This seems to be a common occurrence among many who proclaim to be Christians in our society.
While there is a cost to following Jesus, becoming part of the Kingdom of God is well worth the cost. Jesus came to Earth to teach us about the Kingdom of God. Just as America has laws and rules to follow, the Kingdom does, too. There is a cost to those who are citizens in this Kingdom, yet the benefit outweighs the cost. To know Jesus is to be free from our past, to be clean from our sins because he paid for them!
So, let’s follow the instructions that Jesus gave the 72 messengers, to go out and spread the good news, to tell everyone about the message, despite the response, and to keep the message the same.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves (messengers go out in pairs) and a partridge in a pear tree (Zacchaeus).