"On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me.... FOUR calling birds...."
On the fourth day of Christmas, my friends all said to me, "I can read you like a book!"
Tradition tells us (and we know that the word "tradition" is often code for "We don't really know, so somebody made this up...") that the "Four Calling Birds" represent the four Gospel accounts of Christ's life. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Rebekah talked about this some Sunday afternoon, when she was guest preacher for the SpringWater Korean Church Christmas worship service. There is a theory that each day in the "Twelve Days of Christmas" song represents an aspect of faith. 2 Testaments, 5 books of the Pentateuch, 8 Beatitudes, 11 faithful disciples... etc. etc.
So far as I'm concerned, any mnemonic device that serves as an aid to recalling truths from the Bible is a great idea. It's not only that I need all the help I can get when it comes to remembering anything, it's also that this particular memory tool draws attention to aspects and ideas I might not have considered otherwise.
And so, back to the Four Calling Birds. A calling bird has a song to sing, and the bird is not afraid to sing it. In fact, the song is actually so much a part of the nature of the bird that not singing isn't really an option. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are known as the Four Evangelists because - quite simply - they sing out the story of Jesus.
A few weeks ago I wrote about faith in terms of living a better story. This is very much the same idea. The idea of evangelism is not to brow-beat, to condemn, to press a belief system on someone else... No; evangelism at its best, and as practiced so beautifully by the Gospel writers, is all about telling the story of Jesus.
The best way to tell the story of Jesus is to live the story of Jesus. We've all heard the cliché, "I can read you like a book!" Well, how about if that book was a Gospel?
Good thoughts for the Fourth Day of Christmas.
BE THE GOSPEL! - DEREK