The 12 Days of Christmas

The "Works of Mercy"

Christmas should encourage us:
  • to perform the "works of mercy" and voluntary acts of service.
  • not to substitute coerced "national service" for true compassion

The "works of mercy" is a reference to the commands of Jesus in Matthew 25, frequently heard in Catholic Worker circles, and even found in "The Jefferson Bible."

Matthew 25:31-46

{31} "When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. {32} "All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats.
{33} "And He will set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left.
{34} "Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: {41} "Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:
{35} 'for I was hungry and you gave Me food; {42} 'for I was hungry and you gave Me no food;
I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;
I was a stranger and you took Me in; {43} 'I was a stranger and you did not take Me in,
{36} 'I was naked and you clothed Me; naked and you did not clothe Me,
I was sick and you visited Me; sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.'
I was in prison and you came to Me.'
{37} "Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? {38} 'When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? {39} 'Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' {44} "Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?'
{40} "And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' {45} "Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' {46} "And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

There came a point in my life when I realized I had never seen a person who was hungry, thirsty or in need of clothing or shelter.

Then I realized the suburban neighborhood in which I had grown up was self-consciously designed to shield me from such people. Whole cities are zoned in such a way that the "good people" never meet those  "undesirables" who are in need.

At that point I visited a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality, eventually moved in, and lived there for nearly ten years.

There are three extraordinary things about this passage.

First, our eternal destiny would appear to depend on our good works, not just on whether we "went down the aisle" or "signed a decision card." Notice that the "good works" described by Jesus have little or nothing to do with ecclesiastical bureaucracies, hierarchies or rituals.

Second, any Christian who makes an effort to perform all of the works of mercy described in Matthew 25 will find his or her life turned upside down. After all, these works are not to be performed just once in a person's life. But even doing them just once will transform you.

Third, if Christians as a Body would take this passage seriously, it will transform culture.

Compassionate Conservatism?

Consider the failure of many conservative Christians to follow Jesus:

  • Abortion: a mother is being pressured to murder her own child by status-conscious parents, a greedy "doctor," and/or an irresponsible "boyfriend." "Compassionate conservatives" threaten to imprison or execute the mother. Conservatives initiated government regulation of adoption to prevent children from falling into the hands of dangerous non-conservatives. Like blacks.
  • Immigration: poor peasants seek to flee a drug-cartel controlled government and pursue happiness in America. Compassionate conservatives say, "Your papers, please," and threaten imprisonment or forcible deportation (kidnapping).
  • Someone is accused of a crime. Conservatives believe the police. They disobey Jesus, and will not visit criminals in prison.
  • There is a connection between true compassion and the Bill of Rights. A truly compassionate person does not initiate force against others, nor ask the government to do so.
  • Jesus shed his blood to make atonement for our sins, but "compassionate conservatives" believe more blood must be shed: "capital punishment."
  • Conservatives are willing to annihilate millions of innocent non-combatant civilians rather than work for nuclear disarmament. Jesus, speaking through the Old Testament prophets like Isaiah and Micah, said we should beat our swords into plowshares.
  • Conservatives believe in the "depravity of man," but not the depravity of conservative politicians.
  • Conservatives rightly oppose euthanasia, but won't allow those with terminal pain or other medical problems to use "illegal" drugs. "Give strong drink to him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that are of heavy hearts." Proverbs 31:6   
  • Conservatives will spend taxpayer money imprisoning a pathetic dope-smoking loser rather than helping an addict become confident and successful.
  • Conservatives rightly oppose homosexuality, but will not help anyone with AIDS for fear of appearing soft on homosexuality.
  • Conservatives favor armed invasions of mideastern nations like Iraq, killing thousands of people who didn't like Saddam Hussein any more than conservatives did.
  • I haven't yet covered issues M-Z.

Read more about the "Works of Mercy"

Compare the "works of mercy" and "the 12th Step" of A.A.

Compare and contrast personal service from the heart vs. government-coerced "national service"

Consider the social implications:

You Really Want Us to Keep Our Faith to Ourselves?


Works of mercy and service are the tools with which the Messiah builds His Kingdom and reigns. Those who leave the works of mercy to the politicians cast themselves out of the Kingdom.

This online celebration is sponsored by a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization called "Vine & Fig Tree." Our offices were destroyed by a tornado a couple of years ago. We're requesting a $12 "cover charge" for this party. Your donation is tax-deductible. No donation is required to participate in the "The 12 Days of Christmas." If we get 100 people to donate $12, we'll be able to pay our bills this month.

Or mail your check to

"Vine & Fig Tree"
P.O. Box 179
Powersite, MO 65731

The Program
12 Days Bringing to Mind
The Most Significant Event in Human History

Each day you'll receive an audio for your morning commute to work, and another audio for your commute back home. The morning audio will look at Micah's Vine & Fig Tree prophecy, and in the evening we'll show how that vision began to be fulfilled at Christmas two millennia ago.

Day 1 - Jesus is the culmination of thousands of years of meticulous genealogical records preserved by "the Chosen People," Israel.
• Matthew 1:1-17 - son of David
• Luke 3:23-38 - The Last Adam
 The Scriptures are God-breathed.
Day 2 - The Word became flesh
• John 1:1-18 - The Incarnation
• Luke 1:1-4 - Eyewitnesses of the Messiah recorded their testimony. Co-Founder of the Harvard Law School says their testimony would prove the resurrection in any court of law in America, at one time a Christian nation.
Jesus is "Immanuel" - God with us 
Day 3 - Jesus will be given "the throne of his father David."
• Luke 1:5-25 - John the Baptist prepares the way for the Messiah, as prophesied of Elijah.
• Luke 1:26-38 - The Angel Gabriel announces the conception of the Messiah: "And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:33)
• Luke 1:39-45 - the unborn John the Baptist leaps for joy when he encounters the unborn Messiah. Planned Parenthood attempts to sell them both for body parts. (That last part is "not in the earliest manuscripts.")
Day 4 - Luke 1:46-56 - "The Magnificat"
Mary sings a song of praise composed of Old Testament quotations, saying that the real meaning of Christmas is good news for the poor and lowly, and bad news for the rich and powerful:
    50 And His mercy is on them that fear Him
    from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength with His arm;
    He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
    52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
    and exalted them of low degree.
    53 He hath filled the hungry with good things;
    and the rich he hath sent empty away.
Day 5 - Luke 1:67-80 - Zacharias, John the Baptist's father, prophecies the birth of Jesus the anti-king.
71 That we should be saved from our enemies,
and from the hand of all that hate us;
79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Day 6 - Matthew 1:18-25 - the Incarnation is explained to Joseph
"Jesus" means "salvation"
"Immanuel" means "God with us"
Day 7 - Luke 2:1-7
The Prophet Micah predicted that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. Jesus' parents lived in Nazereth. Therefore God predestined Caesar to issue a decree (probably relating to taxes) that would bring Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem before Jesus was born. Evil empires serve God's purposes.
Day 8 - Luke 2:8-14
An army of angels announces the birth of the Messiah to lowly shepherds, saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
      And on earth peace to those with whom He is pleased!”
Day 9 - Luke 2:22-24
The most important family on earth could not afford the top-level offering required by the law of Moses. They took advantage of a provision for low-income families.
Day 10
• Luke 2:25-35 - Simeon had been told he would not die before he saw the Lord's Messiah. He says Jesus is "The One."
• Luke 2:36-38 - Anna the Prophetess is another well-known Godly person who acknowledges that Jesus is the Child promised by the prophets. (Christianity offered a view of women which was quite unlike that of the Empire that occupied Israel at the time.)
Day 11 - Wise men worship Jesus
• Matthew 2:1-8 - "Wise men from the East" (Babylon, perhaps) knew of Micah's prophecy that the King of the Jews would be born in Bethlehem.
• Matthew 2:9-12 - The kings from the east present the Messiah with "gold, frankincense, and myrrh." Extraordinarily expensive gifts.
Day 12 - Matthew 2:13-18 - Massacre of the Innocents
When Herod got word of the birth of a rival king, he behaved in a perfectly logical way (for someone who wants to protect his power):  he massacred all male babies the age of Jesus. Herod recognized that Jesus was a threat to Herod's power.

Each day along the way, we will compare these historical accounts of Christmas with Micah's Vine & Fig Tree prophecy predicting:

Our Goal for the Planet:

The message of the angels to the shepherds on the first Christmas:

And this is the sign unto you:
Ye shall find a Babe
wrapped in swaddling clothes,
and lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest,
And peace on earth
among men with whom He is well pleased.
Luke 2:8-15

Peace on Earth Begins with You.

Our Goal for You:

To be one in whom God is well pleased:

His lord said unto him, `Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord.' Matthew 25:21

The Vine & Fig Tree Worldview

The phrase "Vine & Fig Tree" comes from the Old Testament Prophet Micah, the fourth chapter. You can find out more about the Vine & Fig Tree Worldview on our home page:


During the next 12 days, you'll see the "real meaning" of Christmas in the Bible like you've never seen them before.

Many Christians today believe Jesus came to get us a ticket to heaven when we die. In the meantime, Satan rules the planet. Their story of the Bible goes like this:

  • God created planet earth;
  • God put man on earth to be a good steward, and transform the Garden of Eden into the City of God;
  • Satan tempted man;
  • Man rebelled against God, choosing to be his own god instead;
  • Satan now controls the world;
  • Jesus came to pay the penalty for this rebellion;
  • Things are going to get worse and worse;
  • Since Satan and man are not playing God's game by God's rules, God is soon going to take his cosmic football and go home.

In other words, Satan wins.

Pretty dismal story, isn't it?

Sure, God sent His Son, who died on the cross, so that some of the players can be forgiven for their rebellion and go home with God, but God's original purposes for man and the creation were thwarted by Satan, the ultimate victor.

Click here to listen to the "Vine & Fig Tree" worldview

Some of George Washington's favorite passages of the Bible were those that spoke of every man dwelling safely "under his own vine and fig tree." Other Founding Fathers also referred to this "Vine & Fig Tree" ideal.

(George Washington would recommend that you enroll in The 12 Days of Christmas program. He read the Bible for an hour each morning, and another hour in the evening.)

George Washington was motivated by the Vine & Fig Tree vision revealed in the Bible. Washington's Diaries are available online at the Library of Congress. They are introduced with these words:

No theme appears more frequently in the writings of Washington than his love for his land. The diaries are a monument to that concern. In his letters he referred often, as an expression of this devotion and its resulting contentment, to an Old Testament passage. After the Revolution, when he had returned to Mount Vernon, he wrote the Marquis de Lafayette on Feb. 1, 1784:

"At length my Dear Marquis I am become a private citizen on the banks of the Potomac, & under the shadow of my own Vine & my own Fig-tree."

This phrase occurs at least 11 times in Washington's letters.

"And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig tree" (2 Kings 18:31).

Peter Lillback, author of a 1,000-page study of Washington's life and thought, has found more than 40 references to the “Vine and Fig Tree” vision in Washington's Papers.

"Vine & Fig Tree" is the original "American Dream."

The phrase occurs a number of times in Scripture. These references are visual reminders of the Hebrew word for salvation, which means
• peace,
• wholeness,
• health,
• welfare, and
• private property free from pirates and princes.
When today's Americans hear the word "salvation," they usually think about going to heaven when they die. When the writers of the Bible used the word "salvation," they wanted you to be thinking about dwelling safely under your own Vine & Fig Tree during this life -- much more often than they wanted you to be thinking about what you'll be doing in the afterlife.

Vine & Fig Tree  is also a phrase from the prophet Micah, the idea of everyone owning property and enjoying the fruits of their labor without fear of theft or political oppression, of sitting peacefully under your "Vine & Fig Tree."

Hundreds of years before Christ, the prophet Daniel spoke of the first Christmas, the birth of the Messiah in the days of the Roman Empire. That barbaric, debauched empire was destroyed, and the Kingdom of Christ began growing like a mustard tree, like leaven, like a field (Matthew 13). The Emperor Justinian began Christianizing the Eastern Roman Empire, and in the West kings like Alfred and Ethelbert made the 10 Commandments the basis of new legal systems. The "Common Law" began, with a Christian foundation, and eventually found its way into the Constitution of the United States, "a Christian nation." From 12 dejected disciples, Christianity has spread across the world, and billions of people claim to be Christian. Though there have been ups and downs, the progress of Christianity has been undeniable -- at least to those who have been taught the facts of history.

Most Americans in the 21st century have not.

If you enroll in this Home Study Program, you will learn the story of the "Vine & Fig Tree." You will learn that the Bible says the purpose of the first Christmas was that "the knowledge of the Lord should cover the earth as the waters cover the sea." (Isaiah 11:9; Habakkuk 2:14). This has been going on for 2,000 years now. This is a wonderful story that isn't being told.

And the story is really just beginning.

You're invited to celebrate
 the Twelve Days of Christmas.

No matter what time of year it may be.


The Birth of Christ transformed the world.

The next 12 days can transform your life.

What is the "real meaning" of Christmas? Don't wait until "the holiday season" to find out. You'll be much too distracted. Start now.

  • The traditional song "The 12 Days of Christmas" represents the giving of opulent and impractical gifts.
  • This 12 Days of Christmas website represents a new worldview which transforms you into a peacemaker and a "good and faithful servant."

Join our online party and accomplish the following over the next 12 days:

  • read the historical accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ
  • discover "the real meaning of Christmas" by comparing the Gospel accounts of Christmas with a neglected Old Testament prophecy (Micah 4:1-7).

The "real meaning of Christmas" is:

  • Peace on Earth (Luke 2:14).
  • Everyone dwelling securely under his own Vine & Fig Tree (Micah 4:1-7).
  • Jesus is the Christ ("Christ" means "messiah," or "anointed King").

What we've already witnessed:

  • The prophet Daniel predicted that during the Roman Empire, a rock would crush the empire and turn into a mountain and fill the whole earth. Jesus is the Rock. He has been reigning for 2,000 years, ever since He rose from the dead and ascended to the right hand of the Father. His Kingdom is the Mountain, it's filling the earth, and the planet is being progressively Christianized.
    Before He rose from the dead, He had 12 dejected and confused disciples. Today over two billion people claim to be followers of Christ.
    The empire that executed Jesus soon collapsed under its own depravity. Christians began Christianizing the world. Early kings like Ethelbert made the Ten Commandments the foundation of the "common law" legal system in Europe. At one time the United States Supreme Court declared that America was "a Christian nation." "Western civilization" is Christian civilization. There have been ups and downs, but the progress cannot be denied. The Mountain is filling the earth.


  • Christ's Kingdom advances peacefully through works of service, not the sword. A non-military, "pacifist" Messiah was not the kind of Messiah expected by most Jews 2,000 years ago. (Nor by many Christians today.)

There are two groups that oppose this concept of Christmas:

  • "Premils"
  • "Pinkos"

"Premils" are "pre-millennialists" who believe the "millennium" (described by Micah 4 and other passages) cannot take place until after a Second Coming of Christ, when Jesus returns and sets up a strong, military, "police-state"-style centralized government, with armed believers dispatched from a throne in Jerusalem to put down unbelievers. "Premils" believe Christmas only secured for believers a ticket to heaven when they die, or a ticket on "the Rapture" if they live that long. Not global transformation.

"Pinkos" are those who believe that Jesus is not King enough to bring about the "millennium"; we need strong centralized government for that. Pinkos call us "anarchists."

During the next 12 days, we'll find out why the Premils and the Pinkos are both wrong, and why you and I can and should work to bring "Peace on Earth" so that everyone can dwell prosperously and securely under their own Vine & Fig Tree.

For more about the "Vine & Fig Tree" vision, see our home page.