Christmas day may have come and gone, but the spirit of Christmas is alive and well. Did you know that the song, The 12 Days of Christmas is a celebration of Christ following the days of his birth, not the 12 days leading up to it?
The song is based on an old English Christmas carol. 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 the Church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
In each verse, "my true love" represents God and "me" is the baptized soul.
|Date||Song Symbol||Song Meaning|
|First Day (December 25)||A partridge in a Pear Tree||
The partridge represents Jesus because it's a bird willing to sacrifice its life, if necessary, to protect its young by feigning injury to draw away predators.
|Second Day (December 26)||Two Turtle Doves||Old and New Testaments|
|Third Day (December 27)||Three French Hens||Faith, Hope, and Love|
|Fourth Day (December 28)||Four Calling Birds||Four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John|
|Fifth Day (December 29)||Five Golden Rings||First five books of the Old Testament, which describe man's fall into sin and the great love of God in sending a Saviour|
|Sixth Day (December 30)||Six Geese-a-laying||Six Days of Creation|
|Seventh Day (December 31)||Seven Swans A-swimming||The Holy Spirit (Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy)|
|Eighth Day (January 1)||Eight Maids A-milking||Eight Beatitudes in Matthew’s Gospel. The Beatitudes are to the New Testament what the Ten Commandments were to the Old Testament. The Beatitudes tell us how to love God and love one another.|
|Ninth Day (January 2)||Nine Ladies Dancing||Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit -Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience (Forbearance), Goodness (Kindness), Mildness, Fidelity, Modesty, (Chastity)|
|Tenth Day (January 3)||Ten Lords A-leaping||Ten Commandments|
|Eleventh Day (January 4)||Eleven pipers piping||Eleven faithful Apostles|
|Twelfth Day (January 5)||Twelve Drummers Drumming||Twelve points of belief in The Apostles' Creed|