On the 12th Day of Christmas

12 Drummers.jpg

The Apostles Creed - 4th cent. AD

I believe in God, the Father almighty,(Mt 5:45)
Creator of heaven and earth,(Gen 1:1; Rom 1:20)
And in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord,(Mt 3:17; Phil 2:12)
Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,(Lk 1:35)
born of the Virgin Mary,(Lk 2:7)
suffered under Pontius Pilate,(Jn 19:16)
was crucified, died, and was buried.(Jn 19:29–42)
He descended into hell;(1 Pet 3:19–20)
on the third day He rose again from the dead,(Mt 28:1-10; Jn 20:11-18)
He ascended in heaven,(Lk 24:51)
and sits at the right hand of God,(Heb 1:3)
the Father almighty;(Mk 14:36)
from thence He shall come again (Mt 16:27; Acts 10:39)
to judge the living and the dead.(1 Cor 15:51)
I believe in the Holy Spirit,(Jn 14:15–20; Acts 1:7–8)
the Holy Catholic Church,(Mt 16:18–19; Eph 5:26-27; Col 1:24)
the communion of Saints,(Mt 28:19–20; 2 Cor 11:13; 1 Cor 15:33)
the forgiveness of sins,(Jn 20:22–23)
the resurrection of the body,(1 Cor 15:51–54; 1 Thes 4:13–18)
and life everlasting.(1 Jn 5:20)
Amen.

The popular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is usually seen as simply a nonsense song for children with secular origins. However, some have suggested that it is a song of Christian instruction, perhaps dating to the 16th century religious wars in England, with hidden references to the basic teachings of the Christian Faith. They contend that it was a mnemonic device to teach the catechism to youngsters. The "true love" mentioned in the song is not an earthly suitor, but refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to those who are a part of the Christian Faith. Each of the "days" represents some aspect of the Christian Faith that was important for children to learn.

Whether the song was used as a catechism or not, the religious meanings behind this Christmas Carol, warm my heart and remind me who this season is all about!

So, let's sing the song and learn what each verse is all about . . .

The 12 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree.

True love = God, and Partridge in a Pear Tree = Jesus Christ on the Tree (cross)

On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Two Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testament (Old and New Covenant)

On the third day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Three French Hens = The Three Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, and Love - 1 Corinthians 13:13.

On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Four Calling Birds = The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John.

On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Five Gold Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Six Geese A-laying = The six days of creation that confess that God is Creator and Sustainer of the world, from Genesis 1.

On the seventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Seven Swans A-swimming = The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion, from Romans 12:6-8 and 1 Corinthians 12:8-11.

On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Eight Maids A-milking = The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, from Matthew 5:3-10.

On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Nine Ladies Dancing = The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)

On the tenth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Ten Lords A-leaping = The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)

On the eleventh day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Eleven Pipers Piping = The eleven Faithful Apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the betrayer, Judas Iscariot.

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love sent to me Twelve drummers drumming, Eleven pipers piping, Ten lords a-leaping, Nine ladies dancing, Eight maids a-milking, Seven swans a-swimming, Six geese a-laying, Five golden rings, Four calling birds, Three French hens, Two turtle doves, and a partridge in a pear tree!

Twelve Drummers Drumming = The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Prayer: 
Lord, We worship You during this Christmas season. You are our wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Fill us to overflowing with Your love for the lost. Teach us to do acts of kindness to those who are in need at this time of year. May our family be a refreshment and light to others. We ask You to touch with salvation those in our family who do not know You. Open their hearts to Your great love for them. Help us to drum up passion about Your Truth and work always to be Your light. You are the Savior of the world. Amen.
Date: 
Jan 5 2019