Afrikan Revolutionary Soldier
The Twelve Days Of Christmas

There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

From 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 turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament:
1 Genesis
2 Exodus
3 Leviticus
4 Numbers
5 Deuteronomy

The 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.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes:
1 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
2 Blessed are the meek: for they shall posses the land.
3 Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
4 Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
5 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
6 Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
7 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
8 Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments:
1   You shall have no other gods before me.
2   You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness.
3   You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
4   Remember the Sabbath day to set it apart as holy.
5   Honor your father and your mother.
6   You shall not murder.
7   You shall not commit adultery.
8   You shall not steal.
9   You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.
10 You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse, nor property.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples:
1   Simon, who is called Peter
2   Andrew his brother
3   James the son of Zebedee
4   John his brother
5   Philip
6   Bartholomew
7   Thomas
8   Matthew the publican
9   James the son of Alphaeus
10 Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus
11 Simon the Canaanite

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed:
1   I believe in God the Father Almighty
2   And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord
3   Who was born of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary
4   Crucified under Pontius Pilate and buried
5   The third day He rose again from the dead,
6   He ascended into Heaven,
7   Sitteth at the right hand of the Father,
8   Whence He shall come to judge the living and the dead.
9   And in the Holy Ghost,
10 The Holy Church,
11 The forgiveness of sins
12 The resurrection of the body.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol so pass it on, if you wish.

2007-10-03 Wed 21:48ct