The Twelve Days of Christmas
At Wenceslas Square, in the heart of Prague, there is a statue of the Duke of Bohemia, affectionately known as good King Wenceslas. A caring Christian ruler and patron saint of the Czech Republic, Wenceslas has come to represent kindhearted generosity and selfless giving. And because these attributes are at the heart of Christmas, it’s not surprising that good King Wenceslas is also the subject of a beloved Christmas carol.The carol is based on a story set during a feast day shortly after Christmas. But King Wenceslas is not feasting; instead, he looks out the window onto the wintry landscape and discovers a poor man, gathering whatever meager firewood he can find in the deep snow. Filled with compassion, Wenceslas calls his page and tells him to bring food and wood for the destitute man. Then, instead of sending his page on the errand alone, Wenceslas leaves his comfortable home and goes with the page into the cold night to deliver the gifts personally.At one point, the snow becomes so deep and the wind so fierce that the page wonders if he can carry on. But Wenceslas invites him to walk in his footsteps, and as he does, the page finds strength to endure. Together they brave the storm and fill the poor man’s humble home with generous gifts.Aren’t we all somewhat like Wenceslas’s page? We joyfully accept the invitation to generous giving that comes with the Christmas season. But sometimes meaningful giving, the kind that really makes a difference, requires sacrifice, and that can be difficult. When this happens, we can find strength as we walk in the steps of the Master Giver.After all, as he once said, “Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant” (Matthew 20:27).This is why we honor good King Wenceslas more than a thousand years later: because he reminds us of the kindness and generosity of another king — one who also chose to be a servant, who lived among the poor and the weary so that he could give them relief. This is the king whose birth and life of service we celebrate at Christmas.
The Wenceslas told by actress Jane Seymore at the 2011 Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert.
“Now during those days, when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution of food. And the twelve called together the whole community of the disciples and said, ‘It is not right that we should neglect the word of God in order to wait on tables. Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this task, while we, for our part, will devote ourselves to prayer and to serving the word.’ What they said pleased the whole community, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, together with Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. They had these men stand before the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them. The word of God continued to spread; the number of the disciples increased greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith. Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:1–8 NRSV)
"Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.' Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, 'Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?' And the King shall answer and say unto them, 'Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me'" (Matthew 25:34–40)
In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,and the Word was God.
The same was in the beginning with God.All things were made by him;
and without him was not any thing madethat was made.
And the Word was made flesh,
and dwelt among us, (John 1:1–3, 14a)
Behold, I am Jesus Christ the Son of God.I created the heavens and the earth,
and all things that in them are.
I was with the Father from the beginning.I am in the Father,
and the Father in me;
and in me hath the Father glorified his name.
I am the light and the life of the world.I am Alpha and Omega,
the beginning and the end. (3 Nephi 9:15, 18)
|Eva Koleva Timothy, "In the Beginning Was the Word"|
Of the Father’s love begottenere the worlds began to be,he is Alpha and Omega —he the source, the ending he,of the things that are, that have been,and that future years shall seeevermore and evermore.O that birth forever blessed,when a virgin, blest with grace,by the Holy Ghost conceiving,bore the Savior of our race;and the babe, the world’s Redeemer,first revealed his sacred face,evermore and evermore.This is he whom seers in old timechanted of with one accord,whom the voices of the prophetspromised in their faithful word;now he shines, the long-expected;let creation praise its Lordevermore and evermore.Let the heights of heaven adore him;angel hosts, his praises sing:powers, dominions, bow before himand extol our God and King;let no tongue on earth be silent,every voice in concert ringevermore and evermore.Christ, to you, with God the Fatherand the Spirit, there shall behymn and chant and high thanksgivingand the shout of jubilee:honor, glory, and dominionand eternal victoryevermore and evermore.