ON THE THIRD day of Christmas my True Love sent to me three French hens.
The three French hens, without any disrespect intended, can only be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are not faith, hope and love from my view of things, as these are not as central to Christmas as the function of the Trinity is. So, to imagine this is hard, but God gave us God in the fullness of God, and God was Present with us.
The Trinity active in creation,
Brooding nativity’s machination,
The Son in the Spirit of the Father,
Earth was no destination he’d rather.
The Trinity devised the plan of redemption from time immemorial, including the roles each Person of the Godhead would play. The Son was no mere subordination in that plan, and nor was the Spirit surplus to requirements in some junctures of Christianity’s history, in terms of the Son’s earthly life in Jesus; quite the opposite. Each Person of the Godhead was equally involved, equally important, and equally significant at each phase of the Incarnation’s life, from conception in the virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit through to the burial of Jesus in that borrowed tomb.
The Father oversaw the Son’s obedience, seeming to turn away from the Son without actually doing so, bearing the fullest sense of pain to watch as his own Son would agonise, bleed and die. The Holy Spirit mediated between Father and Son, as the Spirit embodied the Son.
Why is this so important?
It’s a foretaste to this: it’s crucial that we can see the unified and perfectly aligned Trinity as being equally involved in all his component parts in the Christmas narrative.
The Father sent his Son, faithfully, to us — our True Love sent to ‘me’ a Saviour, then a Lord, then a King — the Spirit of himself. The Son embodied a life that, once he was in it, he couldn’t escape from; his purpose was to complete his earthly mission. And nor would the Holy Spirit have been the type to miss the opportunity to tip love into human beings. The Spirit was graciously and intimately involved in all parts of the Messiah’s birth narrative. As all parties would have stood there marvelling at the Christ-child, Father and Spirit would also there, perfectly Present.
To illustrate, let’s look at just one set of events in the life of Jesus — his temptation in the wilderness — to see the Trinity’s role.
The Holy Spirit endured the wilderness with Jesus, and empowered Jesus with the revelation and Spirit strength needed to overcome temptation. And still the Father foresaw and oversaw the whole 40-plus day period. The Spirit empowered Jesus to live in perfect obedience like we would like to live in such temptations; unafraid in every situation, knowing he had the ability to honour God’s will simply and solely by faith. And the Father was there, well pleased.
On the third day of Christmas my True Love sent to me three French hens, two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.
And then, after the perfection of three French hens, there was the four gospels — according to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John… the fourth day of Christmas (coming next).
© 2015 Steve Wickham.