Until I started writing for my new album, Aurora 12, I wasn’t aware each gift in the song, Twelve Days of Christmas, relates to a Christian symbol. The gift of the first day of Christmas in the traditional song is a Partridge in a Pear Tree, where Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge – the only bird that will die to protect its young.
I found this symbolism incredibly appealing and I challenged myself to relate the 12 songs in my new album back to earth, air, fire and water. These are the four elements that make up Mother Earth and a number that is considered sacred to Indigenous people.
Although the 12 days of Christmas doesn’t officially begin until December 25th, I decided to switch it up and share some of the ideas behind each song on the album leading up to Christmas Day.
Today is December 13th and it also happens to be my birthday – a day in which I was given the incredibly precious gift of life. Like the child in my song, There Was a Child, I would like to be able to say that I brought joy to my birth parents, but I’m not sure that I did, at the time. My birth father never knew I was born. My birth mother never got to meet me until 30 years after I was born; she never held me or saw me at birth. My adoptive parents met me four months after I was born and they say I brought them joy (phew!)
The story of my birth is not that uncommon, and it makes it ever more poignant that not everyone experiences the birth of a child in the way that we imagine nature intended it to be. It’s not always joyful for so many reasons, such as the loss of a child prior to giving birth or having to give up a child to adoption after giving birth. Bringing a child into this world can be the most joyful experience in a person’s life, but also the most painful.
That’s one of the reasons why the traditional story of the Christ Child fills me with joy. I can feel the hope and love that pervades the Christmas season.
Whether or not a person believes in the story of Christ’s birth, it a story of love, responsibility to the greater good, the miracle of a virgin birth, a father lovingly raising a child that was not his, and people coming from afar to be part of something they hoped for and believed in. What a beautiful story!
Some of the lyrics from There Was a Child encapsulate this feeling. The chorus, for example: There was a child born one night, He was filled with Christmas light, He came to free us with a love we couldn’t see, He’s the baby that gave Christmas to you and me.
May we understand love that we can’t see, but can feel. My gift to you, There Was a Child, is my Partridge in the Pear Tree. Have a listen: https://sandrasutter.com/track/2533106/there-was-a-child
(This is the first of a daily 12-part blog series offering positive and inclusive messages throughout the festive season, along with songs from Sandra's newly released Christmas album, Aurora 12.)