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12 days of Christmas

Who Knew Wednesday!

Today on Who Knew Wednesday Joe and I shared a bunch of information about the advent season!

We shared some information from Rob L. Staples who is a professor of theology emeritus at Nazarene Theological Seminary.

Advent is preparation for Christmas, not Christmas itself. It is only in commercial advertising that the Christmas season begins the first of December (or the first of October!). In the Christian calendar, Advent is the season including the four Sundays preceding Christmas. Christmas Day is December 25, and the Christmas Season itself is the 12 days from Christmas to Epiphany. Remember the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” with “a partridge in a pear tree?”

Epiphany, which celebrates the coming of the Magi, the first Gentiles to acknowledge Jesus as King, is January 6. Epiphany means “showing” or “unveiling” and thus “unveils” the truth that salvation was for Gentiles as well as Jews.

Advent differs from Christmas in the same way Lent differs from Easter. Both Advent and Lent are times of preparation—Advent for Christmas and Lent for Easter.

The Christian calendar, unlike the calendar on our walls or desks, does not begin January 1. It begins the first Sunday of Advent. Advent is that season when the Church turns its gaze in two directions—past and future. It looks backward as it prepares to celebrate the birth of Christ in Bethlehem, and it looks forward as it engages in self-examination in preparation for Christ’s Second Coming in glory.

The word “advent” comes from the Latin adventus, which means “coming” or “arrival.” Thus in certain contexts, it means the same as the Greek parousia. However, the latter term occurs in the New Testament only with reference to the Second Coming. During the Advent season, both these “comings” of Christ are embraced in the Church’s worship—His coming in the Incarnation and His coming at the end of the age.

Advent emphasizes hope, and it is this hope that makes Advent a proper preparation for Christmas.

Christian prayer during Advent might be summed up in the word “Come.” It is the “Come, Lord Jesus” with which the Book of Revelation ends. Some of the Advent hymns blend the joy of the Good News of Christ’s nativity with the expectation of the Second Coming. The hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” expresses the Advent hope, as does Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Come, Thou Long-expected Jesus.” Although Christ has been present in the world all along, we pray for His presence to take on a special intensity during Advent (Matthew 28:20).

God’s advent among us is so profound that we can never fully grasp the mystery of incarnate deity. So we must continue to remember and experience anew, year after year, the reality of light in the midst of the world’s darkness. At Advent, we experience the fear and joy and hope that Christian worship expresses in the story of God’s coming to judge the world in the form of a helpless Child lying in a manager who was to give His life to save His people from their sins.

This sheds light on our Christmas celebrations. Christmas is far richer and deeper than a mere sentimental remembrance of the birth of Jesus. Of course, we should value the

tenderness of the image of the “sweet little Jesus boy, born in a manger,” but Christmas means much more.

“Joy to the World, the Lord is Come!” is a reminder that the One who came to Bethlehem is indeed our Redeemer—the One into whose dying and rising we are baptized (Rom. 6:4), just as He was baptized in the Jordan and into our human condition.

As we move toward Christmas, let us not skip Advent!

What we see as we worship may be almost as important as what we hear. Some churches use an Advent wreath as an aid to worship during the Advent season. It is a circular evergreen wreath with five candles, four around the edge of the wreath and one in the center.

Usually, three candles are purple (the color of Advent), and one pink or rose-colored. The three purple candles may represent hope, peace, and love. The pink or rose candle stands for joy at the soon advent of the Savior.

On each Sunday of Advent, one new candle is lighted, accompanied by appropriate Scripture reading. In the center is a white candle, called the Christ Candle, which is lighted on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, or if there are no services on those days it may be lighted on the fourth Sunday of Advent, along with the pink candle.

We also played the Christmas Gift Exchange! Congratulations to Becky from Mount Vernon who got to play and pick something from under our tree and was registered to win our grand prize! Click HERE if you want more information.

Here is our Troyer’s Trivia question:

Can you name two out of the top five of the worst gifts from the 12 days of Christmas?

Answers:

  1. Maids a milking – 19 
  2. Lords a Leaping – 18 
  3. Geese a Laying – 14 
  4. Drummers Drumming – 11 
  5. Partridge in a Pear Tree – 11 
  6. Calling Birds – 7
  7. Pipers Piping – 6
  8. Turtle Doves – 6
  9. French Hens – 5
  10. Swans a Swimming – 3

Congratulations to Dallas from Utica who guessed Maids a milking and Geese a Laying and those answers won him that $5 gift card to Troyer’s of Apple Valley!

Thanks for checking out our blog!

– Hannah and Joe

Who Knew Wednesday

Today Todd and I talked about a somewhat mysterious Christmas Carol, The 12 days of Christmas!

Here is what we talked about:

What are the 12 days of Christmas?

The 12 days of Christmas is the period that in Christian theology marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25  and runs through January 6. The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as Advent, which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24.

The history of the carol is somewhat murky. The earliest known version first appeared in a 1780 children’s book called Mirth With-out Mischief.  Some historians think the song could be French in origin, but most agree it was designed as a “memory and forfeits” game, in which singers tested their recall of the lyrics and had to award their opponents a “forfeit” — a kiss or a favor of some kind — if they made a mistake.

Many variations of the lyrics have existed at different points. Some mention “bears a-baiting” or “ships a-sailing”; some name the singer’s mother as the gift giver instead of their true love. Early versions list four “colly” birds, an archaic term meaning black as coal (blackbirds, in other words). And some people theorize that the five gold rings actually refer to the markings of a ring-necked pheasant, which would align with the bird motif of the early verses.

In any case, the song most of us are familiar with today comes from an English composer named Frederic Austin; in 1909, he set the melody and lyrics (including changing “colly” to “calling”) and added as his own flourish the drawn-out cadence of “five go-old rings.”

The song is not a coded primer on Christianity

A popular theory that’s made the internet rounds is that the lyrics to “The 12 Days of Christmas” are coded references to Christianity; it posits that the song was written to help Christians learn and pass on the tenets of their faith while avoiding persecution. Under that theory, the various gifts break down as follows, as the myth-debunking website Snopes explained:

2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments

3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues

4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists

5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch,” which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.

6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation

7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments

8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes

9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit

10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments

11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles

12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

The partridge in the pear tree, naturally, represents Jesus Christ.

If you want some more information on the 12 days of Christmas, like how much it would cost to buy all of these items, click HERE. 

We played the WNZR Christmas gift exchange and had two lucky people pick a present from under our tree! Click HERE if you want to know more.

Here was today’s Trivia question:

Question: What Christmas decoration was originally made from strands of silver?

Answer: Tinsel
Congratulations to John from Utica who guessed right and won a $5 gift card to Troyer’s of Apple Valley!
Thanks for checking out our blog!
-Hannah and Todd

A Christmas Mystery Monday!

One of my favorite Christmas songs is the 12 Days of Christmas.
My Mystery Question for today is related to that song…

If you received ALL of the presents mentioned in the song… how many presents would you receive in total!?

1 Partridge in a pear tree X 12 days  = 12
2 Turtle Doves X 11 days = 22
3 French Hens X 10 days = 30
4 Calling Birds X 9 days = 36
5 Golden Rings X 8 days = 40
6 Geese-a-laying X 7 days = 42
7 Swans a Swimming X 6 days = 42
8 Maids a Milking X 5 days = 40
9 Ladies Dancing X 4 days = 36
10 Lords a Leaping X 3 days = 30
11 Pipers Piping X 2 = 22
12 Drummers Drumming X 1 day = 12

12+22+30+36+40+42+42+40+36+30+22+12= 364 gifts.

Without counting the multiple times the gifts are mentioned, it would cost $34,363.49.
Counting the multiple mentions, it would cost $156,507.88.

So if you’re looking for gift ideas this Christmas… this is probably not it.

Congratulations to our Different Kind of Winner from our Different Kind of Giveaway!
Ashley from Howard is winning 2 tickets to see the Different kind of Christmas tour with Mark Schultz and Love and the Outcome on December 10th!

If you would like more information on the concert, check out our website, WNZR.fm.

We’re also gearing up for Food for the Hungry! Our live broadcast is on December 9th, and it will be live streamed on MVNU.tv! For more information, click here!

Thanks for listening!
-Lilly

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