Monday, December 23, 2013

"On the First Day of Christmas"... A Significant History of a Familiar Carol

With Christmas only a breath away, a friend sent me a reminder of how blessed we are to live in America. This reminder comes from the history of the “12 Days of 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. To fit the number scheme, when you reach number 9, representing the Fruits of the Holy Spirit,
the originator combined 6 to make 3, taking the 6 fruits that were similar: the fruit in each parenthesis is the that was not named separately. There are actually Twelve Fruits of the Holy Ghost.

Anyway...this is kinda interesting... 
  •       The “partridge in a pear tree” represents Jesus Christ.
  •       “Two turtle doves” are the Old and New Testaments.
  •       Three French hens stand for the three highest virtues in 1 Corinthians: Faith, Hope and Love.
  •       The “four calling birds” are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
  •       The “five golden rings” recall the Torah, the first five books of the Old Testament.
  •       The “six geese a-laying” stand for the six days of creation.
  •       “Seven swans a-swimming” represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit – Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
  •       The “eight maids a-milking” are for the eight beatitudes.
  •      “Nine ladies dancing” are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
  •       “Ten lords a-leaping” represent the 10 Commandments.
  •       The “eleven pipers piping” stand for the eleven faithful disciples.
  •       “Twelve drummers drumming” symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
Have a blessed Christmas! - KM

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