By: Joan Wright-Howie
You’ve heard it said, there are 12 days of Christmas. Did you hear them sing about the multitude of gifts one true love gave to another? Gifts included: calling birds, partridges, doves, hens, lords leaping, ladies dancing, pipers and drummers; not to mention golden rings! If you got all those gifts into one room, you’d have the same number of partridges as drummers, 12 of each; same number of doves and pipers, 22 of each; hens and lords, 30 of each; and so it goes. We could count the gifts by adding up to the middle of the list and then double the result: (12 + 22 + 30 + 36 + 40 + 42) × 2 = 364. Just short of one gift for each day of the year – all given in the name of true love. Imagine the racket!
The overflowing abundant gift giving in this Christmas Carol describes gifts for the year round. The gifts of the Christmas season overflows as the baby whose birth we celebrate becomes an adult with a vision: ‘I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly.’ The word abundant in the Greek is perisson, meaning ‘exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure’. The Christmas baby brings a quantity so abundant as to be considerably more than what one would expect or anticipate.
This abundant life described by the Christian tradition is grounded in true love’s gift. The gift of love is not material. Wealth, prestige, position and power are not priorities. The abundant life is eternal. It is a life that begins the moment we discover Divine Love born in our living, and grows in us as we become more available to the outworking of Spirit. Abundant life is a continual process of learning, practicing, and maturing, as well as failing, recovering, adjusting, enduring, and overcoming. As one year concludes and the next emerges, may you receive, not just 12, but multiplying gifts of abundant life.