Five years after the release of the classic horror-thriller film The Birds, famous producer Alfred Hitchcock told viewers on the Dick Cavett show that the film trained more than 3,200 birds. With such a large flock of feathered creatures, you would imagine animal rights activists might have raised concerns. However, there was no need as the filmmaker welcomed the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals onto the studio set during filming. The ASPCA even set up an aviary to help treat injured birds. Thankfully, the creatures received responsible care.
I suspect the birds were released back to nature once the filming wrapped. After all, who could adequately care for so many birds? If anyone then or now decided to retain a large flock of birds, I imagine the ASPCA would be concerned.
Today is the twelfth day of Christmas. If heaven forbid, you have a true loved one who takes the “Twelve Days of Christmas” carol literally, I strongly suggest you make a precautionary call to the ASPCA and procure plenty of cages and coups. Your gifts of new feathered pets at the end of today will be 224 birds! That’s 42 swans, 42 geese, 36 calling birds, 30 French hens, 22 turtle doves, and 12 partridges. You can add 40 more birds because if you mistakenly thought you also received 14-carat gold rings, understand you’re now also caring for a flock of gold-ringed pheasant. Maybe the ASPCA will be more amenable to your new collection of pets when you mention your 140 new volunteers to help you (12 drummers, 22 pipers, 30 lords, 36 ladies, and 40 maids).
Tomorrow, the Day of Epiphany, also known as Three Kings Day or Little Christmas, gift-gifting isn’t for the birds. So instead, we focus on presents of gold (not gold-ring pheasants), frankincense, and myrrh. These are treasures shared by the magi from the East for our King, Christ the King.
This Sunday, January 8, we ignore Hitchcock’s 3,200 birds, the 224 feathered gifts from the “Twelve Days of Christmas, and pay attention to only one bird, a species noted most in scripture – over 50 times – the dove. Join us for worship as we celebrate the Baptism of Our Lord, with the Spirit of God descending like a dove upon Jesus. Let the Word of God take flight in you. We gather at 8:00 AM (spoken liturgy), 10:15 AM (traditional worship), and 6:00 PM (contemporary worship).