It is a common bird, at first glance it would be called a pigeon. The turtle dove has a habit of nesting in two – male and female. Because of this, they have become the symbol of peace and love – even romance.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me – TWO TURTLE DOVES. The message to the listener was a different kind of peace and love – a sacrifice.
Some hymnologists say that TWO TURTLE DOVES symbolizes the Old and New Testaments . This interpretation is probably not true is because the Old and New Testaments were accepted by early Christians as one book: “The Bible” – the Word of God (the PEAR TREE).
It is a walk down a Biblical path that explains two turtle doves – if you walk with me it will be worth it.
According to Jewish law, there was no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). The common people of Israel offered a “sin offering” at the temple in Jerusalem–the sacred place where Jews would make a pilgrimage once a year. This Temple was revered as the one most sacred place on earth - the where heaven and earth met. When they arrived at the temple, the Jews would bring a sacrifice without spot or blemish – for the poor, it was a pair of turtle doves. These doves were handed to the high priest for their sin and sacrificed on the holy altar where commoners were not allowed. There was so much blood being shed in Jerusalem for sin, there were hygienic rules set up by the priests. The performing of rituals was in the hands of the priest. This sacrifice, this altar, this temple were all run by a small select group of people. While most people could never even penetrate the walls to the altar, they cherished the temple, and respected the practice of sacrificing animals for their sin. There, in Jerusalem, earth was sacred and the people believed that God would somehow descend just enough that He would accept their sacrifice.
Fast forward to the life of Jesus. By the time he came to earth, the practice of sacrificing animals had become very corrupt. The Temple had manufactured their own money and opportunistic money-changers and animal sellers were inside the walls where before only the holy ones were allowed. Jesus, upon seeing it, drove out the corruption with a whip he fashioned out of cords. It is the one time in the New Testament where He is so zealous that people got out of His way….
One week later, Jesus carried a cross down the Via de la Rosa out to Calvary, where He was crucified.
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…. TWO TURTLE DOVES.
For the common people- for ALL people- a sacrifice was given for us by God. Yes, we were given the birth of a Savior - His purpose was to be a sacrifice for us: the perfect sacrifice without spot or blemish for our sin.
The symbol of love, peace and romance is PURE when we see it this way:
Beyond the priesthood, beyond religion, beyond humankind’s desire to touch heaven, The second day of Christmas is a reminder that Jesus is our perfect Savior - the one who came as the perfect sacrifice for us – the poor, the common, the simple.
My true love gave to me a bridge to Himself – the perfect sacrifice.
Thank you, Jesus.