Abilene News

Published 3:45 pm Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 16 – I have been absent from these pages for a couple of weeks, but did not want to pass up the opportunity to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Last year, I wrote about The Twelve Days of Christmas. I heard from so many people how much they enjoyed the column and they had “learned something new.” So, I decided to do a “re-run” of that column.

Christmas is the most important holiday in the traditionally-Christian countries. The season begins with Advent, which means “coming” or “arrival” and over the next four weeks, much preparation occurs leading up to Christmas Day – the coming.

Email newsletter signup

The Twelve Days of Christmas are probably the most misunderstood part of the church year among Christians. They begin on Christmas day, the Twelfth Night is January 5th, the last day of the Christmas season before the Epiphany, January 6th, the day the three wise men arrived bearing gifts for the Christ child.

Most of us think the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, is a silly, nonsensical song for children. However, Christian historians think it has it roots in a time when Christians were persecuted and the words were a sort of “secret code,” a song of Christian instruction, perhaps dating to the 16th century religious wars in England. Some contend that the “true love” mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God himself. The “me” who receives the gifts refers to every baptized person who is part of the Christian Faith. Each of the “days” represents some aspect of the Christian Faith.

It should be said that not all religious historians agree on this “secret code” theory.

A “partridge in a pear tree” represents Jesus, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on Dec. 25th, the first day of Christmas.

“Two turtle doves” represent the Old and New Testaments; “three French hens” represent the three theological virtues of faith, hope and love; “four collie birds” are the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

“Five gold rings” have nothing to do with jewelry. They represent the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy; “six geese a-laying” are the six days of creation; “seven swans a-aiming” are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophesy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion.

“Eight maids a-milking” are the eight Beatitudes: blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake.

“Nine ladies dancing” represent the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. “Ten Lords a-leaping” are the Ten Commandments.

“Eleven Pipers Piping” are the eleven Faithful Apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas bar James. The list does not include Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus.

“Twelve drummers drumming” are the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed.

Whatever your beliefs, best wishes to you and yours for a wonderful holiday season!

Friends And Neighbors

On Dec. 7, the Cardinal Quilt Guild of Prince Edward County held their regular monthly meeting at the home of Marilyn Philbrook. We continue to work on quilts for the children at the Patrick Henry Boys and Girls Plantation. Following the meeting, we enjoyed a potluck luncheon to celebrate the Christmas season. The next meeting of the Quilt Guild will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 4. Visitors and guests are always welcome to join us.

On Dec. 15, the Abilene Homemakers Club held their Christmas party at Ernie's Restaurant near South Boston. Following lunch, we had a gift exchange and everyone had a wonderful time. The next meeting of the Homemakers Club will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 18, at the Abilene Community Center. Visitors and guests are welcome to join us.

A great Christmas story: Billy and Joyce Slayton haven't owned a dog or a cat since their children left home. But, recently, a “mutt” (Joyce is not sure of the breed – but from his looks he could be hound, beagle, and other) showed up.

Not sure that they wanted to adopt a dog, they took pity on the poor little dog. Joyce has named her new friend “Poochie.” He is very shy and backs away when she tries to pet him. He just wags his tail and looks hungry. So far, Poochie is fairing on table scraps from dinner, but Joyce is now contemplating buying some commercial dog food for him. And, she might have to get some kind of a little house for him since he is sleeping in a cold shed or barn.

Joyce is aware that he could leave anytime and she would hate to “fall” for him and have him leave. But, it sounds like Poochie has found a new home and Joyce admits “she doesn't mind if he stays”.

Belated Happy Birthday wishes go out to Hunter Harris who celebrated his 12th birthday on Dec. 10; Derek Thackston who celebrated on Dec. 12; and Marilyn Philbrook who celebrated on Dec. 15. Early birthday greetings are sent out to Mary Hayes who will be celebrating on New Year's Day.

If you have any announcements or news that you would like to share, please contact me at 223-2271 or e-mail me at kz5ro@kinex.net.