Two Turtle Doves (The REAL Twelve Days of Christmas)

The Real Twelve Days of Christmas

It’s the second day of the Christmas season, or Christmastide!

Yesterday I wrote about the first day and the history of the twelve days 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.

Here’s day two:

The second day of Christmas in the carol brings two turtle doves. According to legend, these stand for the Old and New Testament.

Doves are known as symbols of peace, and what did Mary and Joseph bring to Jesus’ dedication at the temple? Two doves! (Luke 2: 22-24)

The Bible comes alive when you understand that both the Old and New Testament point to Jesus Christ. One of the very best tools I’ve found for this is Nancy Guthrie’s Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament series.

[T]he whole of the Old Testament was designed by God to provide a context within which we can understand the necessity of the suffering and the certainty of the glorification of Christ. In fact, without the Old Testament foundation of fall, curse, law, sacrifice, temple, priesthood, and salvation, then the cross, resurrection, and glorification of Christ would make little sense. (p. 19, The Promised One)

I’ve shared my thoughts on both The Promised One and The Lamb of God. Any of the books in this series would be a perfect study to start off the new year!

And I can’t think of a better resource for teaching this concept to children than the Jesus Storybook Bible! If I had to choose just one children’s bible or bible storybook to have on the shelf, this would be it!

From the publisher’s description:

The Jesus Storybook Bible tells the Story beneath all the stories in the Bible. At the center of the Story is a baby, the child upon whom everything will depend. Every story whispers his name. From Noah to Moses to the great King David—every story points to him. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together. From the Old Testament through the New Testament, as the Story unfolds, children will pick up the clues and piece together the puzzle.

Coinciding perfectly with the twelve days of Christmas, the Jesus Storybook Bible is only $1.99 on Kindle until January 5th!

The Kindle version contains all the gorgeous illustrations that the hard copy does, and you just can’t beat that price! You can read more about my thoughts on this book here.

Is your family doing anything special to recognize the twelve days of Christmas?

Read the entire series here:

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Comments

  1. When I saw the title of your post I was excited thinking this would be one of the few articles that actually addresses the REAL 12 days of christmas. So I was quite disappointed to discover that what it does instead is perpetuate the same misinformation as other sources. The REAL “12 days of christmas” originated in honor of the pagan god Yule. They burned a yule log in honor of their god. Human and animal sacrifices were made on each of the days. This is just one of the reasons why christmas was banned in America until 1820. Here is just one of the many documentaries that addresses this http://youtu.be/oZAL80TMLaE.

    • Hi Sandy,

      I’m sorry that you’re disappointed by this series!

      The pagan elements that have crept into our holiday celebrations are something I’ve researched and read about a lot over the years as we’ve developed our own family traditions and celebrations. It’s definitely true that our Christmas celebrations and observances coincide with some ancient pagan celebrations, like the winter solstice and Yule. And yet I don’t think that means we have to reject the Christian traditions that have developed since the first century. The twelve days of Christmas and Epiphany have been a time to focus on Christ’s Incarnation since the early fourth century at least, and the carol is definitely rooted in Christian, not pagan, traditions. I’ve found them to be a wonderful teaching tool for our family and have seen the fruit in my older children’s lives in their understanding of what Christ’s birth and incarnation mean for us! Of course, no one is required to observe any of it, and it’s not a salvation issue, so we’re free to do what God puts on our hearts. I have dear friends who are devoted Christians who fall on both sides of the fence on this and I’m certainly not going to break fellowship with them over it.

      I tend to agree with this quote from Answers in Genesis:

      “Whether Christmas happens to occur at the same time (or close to the same time) as a pagan holiday is irrelevant. There is nothing inherently wrong with celebrating a Christian holiday at the same time the pagans celebrate. Do Christians refuse to take communion if it falls on a pagan holiday like Halloween? Absolutely not. On Halloween, some celebrate Reformation Day, because of what Martin Luther did. Many would contend that Easter is based on ancient pagan holidays, as well, but even if the timing is close to these spring holidays, we remember it because Christ’s resurrection occurred around that time…What is important is that we understand the implication of the omnipotent Son of God leaving His heavenly throne to empty Himself!” http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2008/12/19/feedback-the-origin-of-christmas

      Here’s another article that addresses the issue quite well: http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2012/12/21/christians-celebrating-christmas

      I’ve found observing some elements of the liturgical church year to be a fantastic teaching tool for our family, but I certainly understand and respect your choice not to utilize them if you’re not comfortable with them.

      I really do appreciate your feedback, and thank you so much for taking the time to read Home With Purpose! 🙂

      I hope you have a wonderful and blessed New Year!

  2. I just learned about this Christmas Eve, these types of things always facinate me!
    Sara Shay recently posted…The Gift of Christmas 2013My Profile

  3. Kara, I’m excited about following these posts. In response to the “pagan holiday” scare: I think if we (Christians) jump away from every holiday that is ours because at one time it has a pagan root, we’re allowing a control in our life that God never intended to be there. How crazy. What’s in our heart? Is God leading us away from it? Is there something better I could be doing? (Ie our family doesn’t “celebrate” Halloween because there are better-more Godly choices, IMO. And God has led us away) These are questions that we need to ask ourselves. Not a list of rules (ie this was once a pagan holiday therefore Christians have to shut themselves in their closets).

    Thank you for this series. I’m enjoying it so far and look forward to days 3-12!!

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