“On the fifth day of Christmas,
my true love gave to me five golden rings,
four calling birds, three French hens, two turtle doves
AND a partridge in a pear tree.”
When I think of five rings, I think of the huge Olympic circles intertwined over the Olympic games where the best athletes from nations all over the world have gathered. It is the peak of training, of teamwork, of individual effort, and of cooperation amongst countries. Politics are perhaps behind the scene but even though there is political unrest between and within countries the games focus on a bigger dream. There are rules to the games and we frown when drugs are taken or corners cut. We broadcast the games worldwide.
“My true love” gives me five golden rings on the fifth day and we hold on to those notes of the song a tad longer, giving emphasis. Christians think of the first five books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah, as those five golden rings. The first five books in the Old Testament, are set in the historical context of the birth of the Jews as a nation, and cast a story that goes from a creation in tune with the creator, true love to the struggles we face today. People sin and “fall” from that bliss to death, pain, and conflict. That is true for all of us. The flood, the choice of Abraham, the slavery in Egypt, the deliverance by Moses, the giving of the Ten Commandments, and the arrival to the Promised Land is a cycle seen in many arenas of life. This epic story can be debated but the themes are universal and true to all nations, all ethnicities, and all geographical locations. Like the Olympics, the Torah, the five golden rings speak about all our lives.
Rings are round and speak of life, eternal life. Rings encircle a center and exclude that outside the circle, even as boundaries and parameters are set on acceptable behavior. The five rings of the Olympics connect as our lives are connected and we are bound together in our common humanity. True love says “the other” and we are gold, are valuable, and are worth the struggle, the training, and the journey.
Today we start the year 2021. As Kenyans say at the beginning of church services, “Many wanted to live to see today and have not, so let us rejoice and worship…” true love who gave us five golden rings.
- The Torah tells of “beginnings” so as we begin 2021, let us take a moment to reflect on one or two high points of 2020 for which we are grateful and will help us begin 2021.
- Rings are circles and tell of eternal values, habits, and friendships. Can you name a couple that are important to you?
- Rings define acceptable and unacceptable. What will be “in” and what will be “out” this year. Setting boundaries is healthy and helps life unfold more peacefully. Are there boundaries that need better definition for 2021?
May we pray as we enter the arena of life carrying our personal and family and country flags that we will train to do our best, play fairly, and give glory to the “true love” who walks with us, gifting us and protecting us. Blessings in 2021.