Twelve Drummers Drumming
On the twelfth day of Christmas … twelve drummers drumming. This day’s gift in the song can stand for the twelve points of belief in the three articles of the Apostles’ Creed. The word “creed” means “I believe.” David wrote, “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” (Psalm 51:15). To make a declaration of what you believe is also known as a confession. To speak the Apostles’ Creed is to confess the faith of the Christian church to God and to one another. That faith is in the three persons (and their works) of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. The purpose of each article of the Apostles’ Creed is to confess the mighty deeds of the One Triune God by which He created us, by which He has redeemed us, and by which He keeps us in the one true faith until we join Him in heaven.
The Apostles’ Creed is as follows:
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
And I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He rose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From thence He will come to judge the living and the dead.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Christian church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.
The issue of believing in a god is not what the first article of the Apostles’ Creed is about. In fact, belief that there is some sort of a god or gods is fairly universal around the world. The real matter is believing in the One True God, and not in a different god or “gods,” like money, success, popularity, pleasure, etc. In the first article of the creed, Christians declare that the One True God is none other than He who made the heavens and the earth and everything in them. But even more than that, He is our Almighty Father and He cares for and loves us enough to give His only Son to die for our sins.
In the second article of the Apostles’ Creed, Christians state that Jesus Christ, the only Son of God and part of the One Triune God, was sent into this world to live a perfect life in our place, to suffer and die to pay for all the sins of the world, and then to rise victorious over sin, death, and the devil. Christians believe that Jesus Christ fulfilled all the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament, such as being born to a virgin. In the Old Testament, a blood sacrifice was needed to atone for the sins of God’s people. Jesus Christ was the most important and last blood sacrifice for all sins. That is because He is the Son of God as well as the Son of Man and lived a perfect life on earth, despite being tempted by the devil. Jesus is the unblemished, sacrificial Lamb of God, sent to wash us clean in His blood. We are blessed knowing that Jesus is sitting at the right hand of God the Father in Heaven, waiting for the time to come when He will come again to judge this sinful world. We can be assured, because of Christ’s sacrifice for us, that we will be with Him in Heaven for eternity.
The third article of the Apostles’ Creed states the Christian belief in the Holy Spirit, who calls us into fellowship with the Holy Trinity by the means of grace God gave us, which are His Word and the Sacraments. With the Word and Sacraments, God can keep the entire Christian church on earth in the one, true, saving faith. (See the Third Day of Christmas for a discussion of the virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love.) The Holy Spirit reveals and preaches God’s Word to our hearts so we can accept His Word as truth, cling to that truth, and persevere in that truth. The Holy Spirit pours out forgiveness of sins daily to those with repentant hearts so that on the last day, they will rise from the dead and join with all the believers in Christ in eternal life. This daily forgiveness should inspire all Christians to daily give thanks to God, drown their sin in their baptismal waters, and live a servant’s life like Jesus Christ.
”The Twelve Days of Christmas” song image is by Xavier Romero-Frias and used under Creative Commons license BY-SA 3.0.