But God is close
Psalm 145:17-18 The Lord is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness. The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on him in truth.
Hebrews 2:16-18 We know the Son did not come to help angels; he came to help the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people. Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested.
It seems like every time I ask Youtube to play Christmas carols, sooner or later I’m treated to yet one more rendition of “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” And on NPR I learned that someone (sorry, I didn’t catch who) prices the cost of the “goods and services” in this song each year as a measure of inflation: giving your true love the gifts of all twelve days would cost you 10.5% more this year than last year. Especially turtledoves! Sorry, that’s about all I remember, but feel free to research it!
What is it that so fascinates us about this dated song that we keep on playing it and listening to it?
Hearing about this on NPR did prompt me to think about turtledoves, because they show up periodically in Scripture. They are cited in Song of Solomon as a sign of spring (no wonder they are expensive at the moment, huh). In Psalm 74:19, God’s beloved people are compared to turtledoves. In Leviticus a series of texts describes using them for sacrifices, for those too poor to purchase a lamb. In Luke we learn that Mary and Joseph fell into that category, because they took two turtledoves to the Temple to substitute legally for their firstborn Jesus’s dedication to the Lord when he was circumcised at eight days of age.
The Temple priests didn’t know Jesus was the Lamb, the One who would be sacrificed for each one of us. The One described by the old man Simeon in the Temple as “the consolation of Israel.”
Two turtledoves, the offering of the poor. For the Magi had not yet arrived to bring him their costly gifts.
On this second day of Christmas, I am filled with awe thinking about the mystery of God become a tiny, helpless baby.
My favorite carol again this Christmas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE