“FIVE GOLD RINGS!”—Heirlooms, Cheers & Prayers
“On the fifth day of Christmas, my True Love sent to me FIVE GOLD RINGS!” — this portion of the well-known, though not- so-well-understood carol, is arranged musically as the climax. The notes, highest of the song, are grandly slowed and extended, connoting a rousing cheer being raised in a room full of Christmas revelers with mugs of wassail held high.
Such a picture is fitting when one considers that the ‘five gold rings’ represent, in this encrypted catechism, the first five books of the Bible’s Old Testament, The Pentateuch. What would the Christian Faith be without Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy?
These 5 books, chronicling Man’s beginning as well as the origins and unique place of the Jewish people in history, also record the process by which they received the designation, God’s Chosen People. Their Holy Writ forms the firm footing of the Christian Faith and are among the Scriptures Jesus read and referred to in presenting Himself to us. He is the Messiah they pointed to, pre-figured and demonstrated our desperate need of.
Representing this treasured heirloom, gifted to us as it were, through our Hebrew spiritual forebears, the musical capstone of ‘five gold rings!’, is a fitting response. Yet, ironically, thanks has not been the response over the centuries to the Jewish people.
My own meditation on this verse this Christmas season was colored in somber shades by the even more jarring irony of current news out of the United Nations — the vote and condemnation of the tiny modern Jewish nations’ right to build new settlements in land rightfully theirs and necessary for securing themselves against the entities which hate their existence and thirst for their annihilation.
To our shame, this decision went un-vetoed by America, previously Israel’s main supporter and defender in the UN, Israel being the only democracy in the entire Middle-East.
As I write this piece the church bells of the nearby Methodist church are chiming over our neighborhood the tune of another much-loved Christ as carol invoking Israel,
“Oh come, Oh come Emanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appears.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel
Shall come to thee oh Israel”
As you enjoy the ” five gold rings” of our faith this Christmas, remember those who delivered it to us. Yes, Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.