A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
The partridge in the pear tree represents Jesus. “The One and Only” was born this day. “True Love” was incarnate on Christmas day. Jesus is the Light of the world, and in Him is life. He came and made His dwelling with us so that we may have light and life.
But why a partridge, and why in a pear tree? How do these represent to us the One and Only, Jesus? As we will see through our meditations this Christmas season, there is an emphasis on feasting and celebration. The partridge and the pear tree are the first installment of a huge celebratory meal. The partridge is a game bird prized for its tender meat. The pear is a fruit that comes in a number of varieties and the “winter pear” ripens near the solstice. These would be foundational for the festive meal that will be detailed in the remainder of the song. Jesus is the foundation–the Rock–of our faith, and the other gifts that follow are founded on Him.
There is one other important facet of the partridge image. A partridge represents Jesus because that bird is willing to sacrifice its life to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators. Jesus was “wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5) He protected us by drawing away the punishment that our sins deserved. He sacrificed His life to protect us, to save us, and to give us His life.