Three French Hens (The REAL Twelve Days of Christmas)

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas

Merry third day of Christmas!

The Christmas season, or Christmastide, doesn’t actually begin until Christmas Day, lasting for the next twelve days until the Feast of Epiphany, on January 6, and celebrating the Incarnation: “God With Us”! These are the days referred to in the popular Christmas carol. So, we’re celebrating each day with a short explanation and thought. If you missed days one and two, be sure to go back and read them too! 🙂

Here’s day three:

“On the third day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me three French hens…”

3_french_hens_by_doxycide

Historically, French hens were more expensive than ordinary chickens and only wealthy people could afford them.

What three costly gifts are associated with Christmas? The gifts of the wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh! These each have theological significance, as portrayed in the carol “We Three Kings”: gold representing his kingship, frankincense a symbol of his priestly role, and myrrh a prefiguring of his death and embalming.

The French hens have also been associated with the three Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love.

I wanted to share a quote from some of my favorite theologians and writers on each of these virtues, but I couldn’t narrow it down to just one each! In the end, I’m sharing several. I hope they bless you!

Faith

Faith is this extraordinary principle which links man to God; faith is this thing that keeps a man from hell and puts him in heaven; it is the connection between this world and the world to come; faith is this mystic astounding thing that can take a man dead in trespasses and sins and make him live as a new being, a new man in Christ Jesus. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Faith is not an instinct. It certainly is not a feeling – feelings don’t help much when you’re in the lions’ den or hanging on a wooden Cross. Faith is not inferred from the happy way things work. It is an act of will, a choice, based on the unbreakable Word of a God who cannot lie, and who showed us what love and obedience and sacrifice mean, in the person of Jesus Christ. Elisabeth Elliot

Faith has nothing to do with feelings or with impressions, with improbabilities or with outward experiences. If we desire to couple such things with faith, then we are no longer resting on the Word of God, because faith needs nothing of the kind. Faith rests on the naked Word of God. When we take Him at His Word, the heart is at peace. George Muller

Faith is rest, not toil. It is the giving up all the former weary efforts to do or feel something good, in order to induce God to love and pardon; and the calm reception of the truth so long rejected, that God is not waiting for any such inducements, but loves and pardons of His own goodwill, and is showing that goodwill to any sinner who will come to Him on such a footing, casting away his own poor performances or goodnesses, and relying implicitly upon the free love of Him who so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son. Horatius Bonar

I wonder how many believers today realize that faith is not merely believing that Christ died for our sins. Faith is also being confident that His way is better than sin. His will is more wise. His help is more sure. His promises more precious. And His reward more satisfying. Faith begins with a backward look at the cross, but it lives with a forward look at the promises. John Piper

Some of you seek for faith much in the same way as you would dig for a well. You turn the eye inward upon yourself and search admidst the depths of your polluted heart to find if faith is there; you search admid all your feelings at sermons and sacraments to see if faith is there; and still you find nothing but sin and disappointment… Look full in the face of Jesus… Drink in His Word… Faith comes by hearing the voice of Jesus. Robert Murray McCheyne

Hope

The word hope I take for faith; and indeed hope is nothing else but the constancy of faithJohn Calvin

Hope fills the afflicted soul with such inward joy and consolation, that it can laugh while tears are in the eye, sigh and sing all in a breath; it is called “the rejoicing of hope” (Hebrews 3:6). William Gurnall

Do not look to your hope, but to Christ, the source of your hopeC.H. Spurgeon

“All things are possible with God!” – in front the words give hope, and behind they give humility. They are the antidote to despair and pride. John Piper

You must have noticed that Scripture links faith, hope and love, and groups them together again and again. Hope is the middle term between faith and love. Hope keeps faith from collapsing under the burden of disappointment and delay. Hope keeps love from dissolving under the acids of frustration. Hope fortifies love and lends it resilience. Hope stiffens faith and forestalls collapse. Victor Shepherd

Hope is called the anchor of the soul (Hebrews 6:19), because it gives stability to the Christian life. But hope is not simply a “wish” (I wish that such-and-such would take place); rather, it is that which latches on to the certainty of the promises of the future that God has made. R.C. Sproul

Love

Love is the overflow of joy in God! It is not duty for duty’s sake, or right for right’s sake. It is not a resolute abandoning of one’s own good with a view solely to the good of the other person. It is first a deeply satisfying experience of the fullness of God’s grace, and then a doubly satisfying experience of sharing that grace with another person. John Piper

Love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by the grace which both partners ask, and receive from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other; as you love yourself even when you do not like yourself. C.S. Lewis

To the Christian, love is the works of love. To say that love is a feeling or anything of the kind is really an un-Christian conception of love. That is the aesthetic definition and therefore fits the erotic and everything of that nature. But to the Christian, love is the works of love. Christ’s love was not an inner feeling, a full heart and what-not: it was the work of love which was His life. Soren Kierkegaard

Love binds together all virtues of Christian character. Love is not so much a character trait as the inner disposition of the soul that produces them all… Though love may be more a motivational force than an actual display of Christian virtue, it always results in actions on our part. Love inclines us and directs us to be kind, to forgive, to give of ourselves to one another. Jerry Bridges

In the New Testament, love is more of a verb than a noun. It has more to do with acting than with feeling. The call to love is not so much a call to a certain state of feeling as it is to a quality of action. R.C. Sproul

Joy is love exalted; peace is love in repose; long-suffering is love enduring; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love in school; and temperance is love in training. D.L. Moody

Who remembers the gift for day four? Any ideas what it might represent?

Read the entire series here:

 

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Comments

  1. Merry Christmas! I love that quote from Elisabeth Elliot on faith. Thanks for shaing! 🙂

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