On the Third Day of Christmas

“On the third day of Christmas,

my true love gave to me, three French hens

two turtle doves AND a partridge in a pear tree.”

Wikipedia says that French hens are the breed of chicken known as Faverolles that was developed about the 1800s.  They are known for being a “utility fowl,” good for meat and egg.  We raised chickens in Kenya for eggs, for meat, and they were good criers if a snake came around.  A six-foot cobra slithered into our coop one night and the noise woke the whole village!  I often tried to order a batch of day-old chicks for when the children were home from boarding school.  The hawks kept track of our house!

         So why “three French hens” in this song?  1 Corinthians 13, called the “Love Chapter” is a must-memorize assignment for children.  It defines love.  Songs are written with its words.  The chapter ends with this insight:  prophecy ceases and knowledge is limited for we only understand “in part” because we are imperfect.

          When I was a child I reasoned like a child, when I became a man, I    put childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in     a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part, then I     shall know fully, even as I am fully known.  And now these three       remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love. 1 Cor.          13:11-13.

Faith, hope and love are thought to be the three French hens, the three gifts from “true love” that spring from our hearts.  These three gifts are character qualities we want to be known for having, not wealth and knowledge that are seasonal.  The event of Christmas transforms our lives even as Scrooge is transformed.  As we think about these three gifts, perhaps it would be good to take a moment to reflect as we enter 2021.  Perhaps write in our journal…

  • What is the foundation of my faith for 2021 – government, medicine, family, wealth, or God?
  • What are three hopes for the New Year?
  • Where do I need to pray for “true love”?

“These three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”  It is not coincidental that “true love” is the giver in this song as our qualities are poor reflections.  Our prayer is that they will grow to be more like true love’s faith, hope and love for us as we walk with God into 2021.  Blessings.

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