3rd day: The Twelve Days of Christmas Devotions

This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now I write to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to you-ward is not weak, but is mighty in you. For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you. Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection. Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy kiss. All the saints salute you.
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.
The second epistle to the Corinthians was written from Philippi, a city of Macedonia, by Titus and Lucas.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . . three French hens.

These birds represent faith, hope, and love. This gift hearkens back to 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter written by the apostle Paul.

While some might initially think that the three French hens of the third day of Christmas can be a reminder to us of the 3 persons of the Trinity – Father, Son & Holy Spirit; as mentioned above, the three French hens of the third day of Christmas can also be a reminder to us of 3 virtues of our Christian faith which the Apostle Paul lays out in 1 Corinthians 13:13 “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”. Let’s look at the role of each of those virtues in our lives as Christians.

Faith is often referred to as the cornerstone of our Christian life as it is what connects us to and receives the blessings God desires to give us. Hebrews chapter 11 is often referred to as “the hall of fame of faith” as it lists out various Biblical characters and how they lived out their faith after we are given this definition of faith: “Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1).  

That definition underscores one of the key aspects of what our Christian faith is all about – trusting God even when we cannot see or understand what is going on.  Sometimes people criticize that as “blind faith”, but our Christian faith is anything but blind.  We trust God and take him at his word even when we cannot see or understand what is going on because of the 100% track record God has of making good on his promises and looking out for the eternal good of his people.

Hope is mentioned over and over in the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments.  One of the best references is Romans 5:3-4 because these verses show us how we can have hope even when we go through difficult times: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.”. 

Consider how those aspects of life: suffering, perseverance and character can lead to hope.  When we have faith that our God allows suffering to happen for a reason, we can persevere and that builds our character. All of that increases and strengthens our hope which is built on and rooted in Christ alone.

Love is a word which has many different meanings and understandings. Maybe you know that there are actually 3 different words which are translated as “love” in the Bible.  We are not going to get into all of those different meanings.  The most important thing we need to know and understand when the Bible tells us about love is that it is more than a feeling – love is demonstrated by actions, God’s incredible saving actions on our behalf. That is all summed up in the well-known words of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”.  Those familiar words remind us that Christmas is the start of God’s actions to show his love to the world with sending a Savior.

Prayer: Heavenly Father – thank you for giving me faith in Jesus as my Savior which gives me hope as I see your love for me carried out in every aspect of my life.  Help me to remember how love came down at Christmas which gives me hope and strengthens my faith.  Amen.

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