Dear Readers,

As we celebrate Christmas and the end of 2019, it’s nice to reflect on a few things. In the famous Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” a certain person called “True Love” sends two turtledoves to his beloved. This song makes me think of the Song of Songs and its reference to turtledoves and true loves.

The Song of The Turtledove

In chapter two of the Song of Songs, the Shulamite sees her Beloved (her True Love!) leaping upon the mountains and the hills like a stag. He peers through the windows and says to her: “Rise up…and come away. For lo the winter is past…the flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.  The fig tree puts forth her green figs, and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell… .”

These words are words of hope for people who have had “winters” or “hard rain”— the difficult seasons or challenges in life. For some folks this year, there may have been more tears than smiles. Yet with the celebration of Christmas and the New Year, we are faced with an opportunity to evaluate our circumstances. For truly, we must ask ourselves: Is every winter or difficult season a reason to be miserable?

No matter what challenges we may have gone through, there is the voice of our True Love, our Bridegroom Jesus, echoing in the land. Do we hear Him singing? Do we hear hope in His voice as He says, “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away…”?

Jesus sees our future. He sees the new beginnings and the joy. He sees our blossoming; our bearing of fruit. And He is there— with us— ushering this. He beckons us to move as He moves.  “Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away… .” His voice is one with love and longing— much like the turtledove heralding the spring.

A Symbol of Hope

The symbol of the turtledove is beautiful. This type of bird is faithful to its mate; hence its use in weddings. They stand for covenant and purity, much like how our True Love Jesus stands with us in covenant and purity. He loves us with an everlasting, holy, and beautiful love that does not break even when we make mistakes or when we go through the harshest of trials.

As the Bible says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:35, 8: 38-39).

Because of Jesus, there is always hope. We see this in Scripture, and yes, if we are keen on details, we can spot that one little telltale sign of hope in the appearance of the dove!

Hope In The Midst of Trials

For example, when Noah was looking for dry land after the deluge wiped out everyone except those inside  the Ark, he released a dove out the window. Did not the dove bring hope in the form of an olive branch? And then there was the baptism of Jesus, where the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. Wasn’t the public presentation of Jesus at the Jordan River such a huge hope for mankind—a presentation that here was the Savior: God Immanuel!

Whatever our circumstances may be, there is always hope. There is always our Bridegroom Jesus, leaping toward us, heralding new things. Do we hear our True Love’s voice?

That being said, we at One Voice Magazine wish you a Merry Christmas of intimacy with God and a beautiful New Year filled with hope! It is time to rise up and come away with the Lover of our souls!

One with you in this journey of life,

Janina Marie Rivera

Janina Marie Rivera is the author of the book, A Night Bird Sings of Blindness and Fear and has co-authored the devotional, Dawns, published by OMF Literature. She is a contributing poet in the books Joyful Light and Whitmanthology: on Loss and Grief by Various Authors. She is the Editor-in-Chief of One Voice Magazine.