Tuesday, December 23, 2008

12 Days of Christmas Surprises Revealed

I've been keeping a secret for the past 12 days. It's been killing me not to share the fun stories behind the secre or not to talk to one of my best friends about this huge project I've been working on for weeks.

Today, the secret can come out. Two groups of friends have been surprising 4 unsuspecting, but well-deserving families with the 12 days of Christmas Surprises. Three of these families are from our public school and one is from my church/scrapbooking family. They are receiving these little surprises because they are going through a rough time or period of grief so as they celebrate Christmas, we wanted to bring a little sunshine to their days.

For our school, this our fourth year of planning this 12 Days surprise program. Each year, the program grows a little more, a few more families and a few more "givers." People now request certain days because they have a great idea so that they can give a particular gift.

These 29 women and their families do an awesome job of being creative, caring, and generous. We pray for the families, include a thoughtful note in each gift, and give them something that has to do with the 12 Days of Christmas Song. Our hope is that, as they receive these fun little gifts each day, the Christmas Spirit in them will brighten and they willl find joy and peace even if just for a little while each day. For those grieving, we are praying that the children in the family will experience true joy in the midst of their sorrow.

The fourth family this year is a good friend of mine who lost her third child inSeptember. Her son Harrison went straight from the comfort of his mother's womb to the arms of Jesus just weeks before his scheduled birth. Our scrapbooking group and some other friends of the family thought that this Christmas could be a little tough and they might need a bright spots in their day. We thought that her two other little children would get a big kick out of this daily surprise.

Tonight, my family delivered two last day presents. Twelve Drummers Drumming. Taking the theme litterally, I found the cutest little red drum boxes at Michaels and placed inside a box of Drumsticks; the ice cream kind. The note inside say that we hoped the family would enjoy this final day gift and that they would have a Blessed Christmas Celebration and a New Year filled with joy and love.

The joy we get from planning, watching and anticipating the 12 Days of Christmas Surprises far outceeds any effort or energy involved. It's simply amazing. Our family gets great joy in this yearly tradition. If you are interested in learning more or getting the information to do this next year for a family let me know and I can send you more information.

I'll leave with this list of the meaning of the 12 Days of Christmas...

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England werenot permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Wishing You and Yours the Merriest of Christmases. God Bless Us Everyone.


Kim said...

Jill, thank you so much for this! I love this sweet idea and it breaks my heart to think of your friends and their grief and loss. In the smallest ways, I know that showing them love like this, is part of God's abundant grace through this trial.

Do you surprise the families or do they know about it ahead of time?

Blessings to you and your family! Merry Christmas ;)

jenn said...

I can not ever use words to describe how amazing this has been. I am completely in awe. Thank you for blessing us this way. Merry Christmas!