ON THE SIXTH day of Christmas my True Love sent to me six geese a-laying.
Geese a-laying brings up images of work and of production. The ultimate work of production was the creation of the world in six days. Only having finished creation — perfect in intent and manifestation — would God rest. And there’s no gift like creation, because creation subsumes all gifts.
At Advent we get to imagine what God was doing in the heavens and down here on earth well before the Incarnation was born. We think about six possibilities of the work of production that went on to build up to that day:
1. The Lord working through Israel via the Old Covenant to build a forerunning ‘religion’ that would anticipate the New Covenant of salvation by grace through relationship. The Old Covenant: the first day.
2. The prophets prophesying the day to come (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2 among others). The Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah: the second day.
3. The brooding intertestamental period where God appears to go quiet — the calm before the Incarnational storm. Activity in brooding silence: the third day.
4. This culminates in the peace of the Pax Romana. Even in an absence of conflict, God is working by his Spirit to prepare the way for the Lord. Peace to prepare the way for the Lord: the fourth day.
5. The Holy Spirit at work in Mary and Elizabeth, and amongst other family members in the lead up to Jesus’ birth. The Holy Spirit in place: the fifth day.
6. The tremulous journey that was undertaken by Joseph and Mary to birth their son in safety whilst on the road for the census of Caesar Augustus. The days of the Incarnation’s birth: the sixth day.
Six geese a-laying through over a few thousand years of history culminating to the Day. God at work in the build-up over thousands of years with precision. God patiently ensuring all components of history are in place. God working even when it seemed he was silent and disengaged.
And the same thing occurs today. God is at work in our lives even when we feel he’s not there and does not care. Just because things appear to have gone quiet in our lives doesn’t mean God isn’t active. So often unanticipated blessings are called forth into our lives at the least anticipated times.
God is always doing something.
On the sixth day of Christmas my True Love sent to me six geese a-laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.