Friday, January 05, 2007

The 12 Days of Christmas and a VERY special friend

My family and I have been honored this Christmas to have a secret santa who has brought our family a small gift each day of the 12 days of Christmas. For those of you who are not Catholic, the 12 days are those days that start as Christmas day and last until the day before Epiphany or "Little Christmas" (January 6th).

Well, on Christmas day, when we rec'd the first note I thought "how sweet, I wonder who this can be?" As the days and gifts continued I thought -- this must be Alice G but she's too far away, but it's just the kind of creative, wonderful, charitable thing that Alice would do. I mean this Secret Santa has braved near-blizzard conditions to ensure that my family has rec'd a small token each day. This Secret Santa has made sure we've never caught him/her. This Secret Santa has made our first Christmas in the Big Square State the most memorable ever.

Here are the things we've received:
  1. Dec 25th, 1st day: partridge = Jesus in a pear tree= the Cross -- gift was a nativity craft
  2. Dec 26th, 2nd day: two turtledoves = Old and New Testaments -- gift was a small suet treat for the birds
  3. Dec 27th, 3rd day: three french hens = the Holy Trinity of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit -- gift was a candy cane ornament with three stripes (and additional ones for eating!)
  4. Dec 28th, 4th day: four calling birds = number of Gospels in the New Testament -- gift was four snowflake stickers (not that we needed more snow in the Big Square state!) to represent the purity of the Holy Innocents (whose feast day it was)
  5. Dec 29th, 5th day: five golden rings = the first five books of the Old Testament, also known as the Pentateuch, which are Genesis 1:1-2:3; Exodus 1:1-1:7; Deuteronomy 1:1-5; Leviticus 27:34; Numbers 26:13. The number five also represents the number of decades of a rosary -- gift was an ornament of 5 golden rings and a rosary for our intentions
  6. Dec 30th, 6th day: six geese a laying = the six days of creation -- gift was a small Jesus, Mary and Joseph as the feast of the Holy Family was approaching
  7. Dec 31st, 7th day: seven swans a-swimming = seven gifts of the Holy Spirit:
    * The gift of wisdom, by detaching us from the world, makes us relish and love only the things of heaven.
    * The gift of understanding helps us to grasp the truths of religion as far as is necessary.
    * The gift of counsel springs from supernatural prudence, and enables us to see and choose correctly what will help most to the glory of God and our own salvation.
    * By the gift of fortitude we receive courage to overcome the obstacles and difficulties that arise in the practice of our religious duties.
    * The gift of knowledge points out to us the path to follow and the dangers to avoid in order to reach heaven.
    * The gift of piety, by inspiring us with a tender and filial confidence in God, makes us joyfully embrace all that pertains to His service.
    * Lastly, the gift of fear fills us with a sovereign respect for God, and makes us dread, above all things, to offend Him. The gift was a couple of bottles of sparkling cider to ring in the New Year!
  8. Jan 1st, 8th day: eight maids a milking = number of Beatitudes -- gift was eight packets of milk-chocolate hot chocolate mix (WITH the mini marshmallows -- something very welcome this winter with the cycle of snow storms we've been in)
  9. Jan 2nd, 9th day: nine drummers drumming = fruits of the Spirit - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness and self-control -- gift was 9 clementines each with a different "fruit" written on them
  10. Jan 3rd, 10th day: ten ladies dancing = ten commandments -- gift was 10 commandment-shaped brownies (still warm from the oven!)
  11. Jan 4th, 11th day: eleven pipers piping = faithful apostles -- gift was three wise men (to go with the Holy Family received on the 6th day) as a way of reflecting on the steadfastness of those men and their journey to find the Christ Child
  12. Jan 5th, 12th day: twelve lords a leaping = the 12 beliefs of the Catholic Church as stated in the Apostles' Creed:
    (1) I believe in God the Father Almighty Creator of Heaven and earth
    (2) And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord;
    (3) Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary,
    (4) Suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried;
    (5) He descended into hell; the third day He rose again from the dead;
    (6) He ascended into Heaven, sitteth at the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    (7) From thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
    (8) I believe in the Holy Ghost,
    (9) The Holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints
    (10) The forgiveness of sins,
    (11) The resurrection of the body, and
    (12) life everlasting. The gift was a puzzle of the Three Wise Men -- those whose journey culminates in the finding of the Child Jesus in the manger.
  13. Jan 6th, Epiphany -- Epiphany which means the manifestation of Jesus to the World; in other words, the fact that Jesus was true God and true Man and the Savior of the World. And we got our epiphany a day early:


MaryM said...

Well, I have to say you are amazingly fast - we just got home!! It's been fun and I have some funny stories to share later. Oh, and BTW, you have the WORST condition side streets in the area!

Alice said...

Darling Mary,

What an incredible, unforgettable present from an unbelievable friend! And, oh how happy I am that you would even think for a minute that I could pull off something so perfect and memorable! Thank you for that! Believe me, I wish I had. God bless Mary!

(I am so upset that I missed this post--it is so special! You are so special. Mary M. is so special! This was just the most wonderful series of gifts I have ever seen, truly!)