I don't believe I learned that the 12 Days of Christmas are the days after Christmas, leading up to Epiphany (the celebration of the Wise Men who followed the star to bring gifts to the Baby King, God's Son). If I learned about when the 12 Days of Christmas are as a child, I didn't remember. I do remember learning about that as an adult. I don't keep my wise men in the stable anymore. I put them all together for the picture I took for the blog post yesterday, but they usually live across the room, until Epiphany.
For myself, growing up in a Christian home, there are things I took for granted. I love when other Christians bring things to light for me. Yesterday at church, our song leader pointed out the circumstances of Mary delivering baby Jesus in the stable. Imagine all these people in Bethlehem for the census... sure they're tired and cranky... but you see a young mother, about to deliver her first baby. He pointed out that those of us in the church, if we had been there, mother of our Savior, or not, we would have given up our room and slept in the stable ourselves. I have given birth to a baby, I know I would have been willing to give up my room for a young mother-to-be. I wonder how Mary felt... God would have a room for her, if He wanted her to have a room. I imagine she was still praising God, so thankful for the stable. How does a person have such faith? I think, that is why she was chosen. Our Savior came into this world illegitimate and born in a barn. The world would not take a second look at that child. But the heavens and the Heavenly hosts proclaimed His birth... and the Wise Men sought Him out to bring Him gifts. And me, funny child, knew this story practically from birth, and never thought how remarkable having stars and planets line up to proclaim a baby's birth and having Kings who study the stars chase after this baby to worship Him... and not even one person volunteering their room for a pregnant young woman, a baby being born in a barn... like that must happen every day back then (ha! I don't think so). As a child and young adult, I didn't realize that Mary and Joseph were not yet married. I learned that when I read my daughter The Very First Christmas by Paul L. Maier. There is a disadvantage to some of those children's Bible story books.
Our pastor showed a short video, a funny video about a living nativity. At the end, the video was serious, the man playing "Joseph" said he could not give up his baby boy. If he was God, the world would be in trouble. I have thought about that before, but I still marvel at that sacrifice (something I am certain I didn't grasp as a child). God planned all that would happen, from the beginning... He knew Jesus would be born in a stable, and die on a cross. He knew when and where and how. I can't imagine. I am thankful that I am human, unable to know the future, because I don't think God made my brain and my heart capable of knowing such things.
"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15