ON THE SECOND day of Christmas my True Love sent to me two turtledoves.
The two turtle doves are the Holy Spirit indwelled Jesus and his predecessor, the forerunner, John the Baptist, and their families.
The Father in heaven appointed,
Two boys, beforehand, he anointed,
John came first to explain,
Jesus came after to reign.
The role of the Holy Spirit to anoint these two boys’ families is marked in Luke 1. John’s father, Zechariah, hears the angel Gabriel prophesying of the events to come, including the filling of John with the Holy Spirit while he’s still in his mother’s womb (v. 15). Indeed, the filling of John in Elizabeth’s womb occurs when Elizabeth hears Mary’s greeting! (v. 41)
These two ladies — one advanced in years, and previously considered barren — and the other, a very young woman, betrothed to Joseph, and perhaps fourteen years of age, come into contact and the Holy Spirit transacts between their wombs.
John grows from being an infant blessed to speak praises of God even on the day of his dedication, to being a wilderness man until the day of his public appearance in Israel (v. 80). John is a man set apart for the Lord and so dedicated and passionate for the task he appears insanely unusual. (Many of us would be put off by John, in both stature and appearance.)
Jesus, being the firstborn, is presented before the Lord according to the law; the offer of a sacrifice of two turtledoves. (Luke 2:24)
The turtledove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and the significance of two turtledoves (Jesus and John) both losing their lives for the Kingdom should not be lost on us. These turtledoves, one the Messiah and the other a man — both human men — were sacrificed for the betterment of you and I. They both lived lives of utter devotion to the Lord their God (Jesus, his Father), lives that were anointed from the very start, yes, but lives of consummate libation all the same. Jesus poured out his life not simply to obey the Father, but to give himself for us. Little wonder that they see the ends that they’re both to lead, Jesus and John — Jesus is still far from home when John’s head is ordered (albeit reluctantly) by Herod, to be delivered on a platter. Jesus, his disciples, and John’s disciples knew what life lay ahead. Those who live by the Spirit must be prepared to die by the Spirit.
On the second day of Christmas my True Love sent to me two turtledoves and a partridge in a pear tree.
And then, before Jesus and John, there was God in the Heavens — the Godhead three-in-one — Father — Spirit — Son… the third day of Christmas (coming next).
© 2015 Steve Wickham.