So it’s five days until Christmas Eve, which is when all the fun starts in our family. One of my favorite Christmas songs is The 12 Days of Christmas…which if you’ve ever been in my car, you have had the pleasure of hearing it…usually several times in a row. It’s just one of those songs. You know which ones I’m talking about. The ones you have to sing in a certain order. Backwards. As loud and fast as you can. Then you have to try again because if you only had one more chance you could get it right.
Plus, it has funny gifts. I mean, who gives their true love eight maids-a-milking? Where do you put the eight maids? And what about whatever they’re a-milking? This song is an organizational nightmare! But I love it—because it’s so fun. And (you knew there was an and…) because it is so meaningful.
From around 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testament
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-Four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-Five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-Six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit (Prophesy, Serving,Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy)
-Eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control)
-Ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-Eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-Twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
I like the really long point on this one. If I were a Magi, the star would have to be like this, otherwise, I'd be totally lost. This reminds us of the incredible journey that the Magi took just to see the baby King, as well as the incredible life that Jesus lived, the incredible sacrifice God made to send His Son, and the incredible journey that Christ leads you on. Also, this year, there's an incredible journey of faith through adoption! Lots of incredible stuff here.
And finally, and most important, is our partridge in a pear tree.
Merry (12 Days of) Christmas, Everyone!!!