Two Turtle Doves
On the second day of Christmas … two turtle doves. Turtle doves are a symbol of love in many cultures around the world. It is fitting then that this day’s gift in the song can stand for the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Each serve their purpose individually, but are stronger together, much like a loving marriage. The Old Testament points to the coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The Gospels of the New Testament tell us of Jesus’ birth, baptism, life of ministry, agonizing death on the cross for the redemption of all of our sins, resurrection from the dead, and ascension into heaven. The rest of the New Testament points to how we as Christians should live our lives, attempting to emulate Jesus’ life of ministry and service until He comes again on Judgement Day.
The Bible is the authoritative revelation of the One Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and all that He did for all of us – all out of pure, unconditional love! This story is both complex and simple at the same time. The complexity of the Bible is how it was written. There are 66 books in the Bible; 39 in the Old Testament and 27 in the New Testament. The Bible was written over a span of more than 1,500 years, by 40 different authors, on multiple different continents, and in multiple different countries. Some of the authors wrote a single book while others wrote several. The authors were very diverse in their backgrounds, too, from a lowly fisherman named Peter to a great king named Solomon. Some were not well-educated, while others, like Paul, received training from the Sanhedrin before his conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus.
Yet despite this array of authors and span of time, THE BIBLE NEVER CONTRADICTS ITSELF! The Bible is the true, inerrant Word of God, divinely inspired from God to its authors. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16–17). “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.” (2 Peter 1:20–21).
Jesus tells us that the simplicity of the Bible’s message is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37–39). Loving anyone unconditionally is definitely easier to say than to do. However, it is “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9). This means that BECAUSE we are saved, we should all live out our faith in ministry to others. And Jesus also tells us that the path to salvation is simply believing in Him. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6). Thanks be to God that our salvation is not measured by our own works, but instead by the free gift of Jesus Christ!
”The Twelve Days of Christmas” song image is by Xavier Romero-Frias and used under Creative Commons license BY-SA 3.0.