Tuesday, 6 January 2009

On the twelfth day of Christmas....

12 Drummers Drumming
twelve drummers drumming

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!

We've reached the Epiphany, which is the last day in our song - the Twelfth Day of Christmas. The "twelve drummers drumming" in today's verse were chosen to express the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed: belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary, made man, crucified, died and arose on the third day, that he sits at the right hand of the father and will come again, the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting.

For those who haven't been following, in my first post I explained that the popular song "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was actually first created as an educational song for young Christians. At a time when it was illegal to practice the faith, this song was used as a "coded message" to convey truths of the faith. During the past twelve days I've outlined each verse of the song, and what the hidden meaning is. So here's a recap on all the verses we've had so far:
The Twelve Days of Christmas

twelve drummers drummingTwelve Drummers Drumming
The "twelve drummers drumming" in today's verse were chosen to express the twelve points of belief expressed in the Apostles’ Creed (see above).

eleven pipers pipingEleven Pipers Piping
The "eleven pipers piping" refers to the eleven faithful apostles.

ten lords a-leapingTen Lords a Leaping
The "ten lords a-leaping" represent the Ten Commandments.

nine ladies dancingNine Ladies Dancing
The "nine ladies dancing" are symbols the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.

eight maids a-milkingEight maids a milking
The "eight maids a-milking" reminded children of the eight beatitudes listed in the Sermon on the Mount.

seven swans a-swimmingSeven Swans a swimming
The "seven swans a-swimming" refer to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.

six geese a-layingSix geese a laying
The "six geese a-laying" are symbolic of the six days of creation, the biblical account in which God creates the universe and it's inhabitants.

five golden ringsFive golden rings
The well-known "five golden rings" represent the first five books of the Bible, also called the Jewish Torah or the Pentateuch: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

four calling birdsFour calling birds
The "four calling birds" refers to the four evangelists who wrote the Gospels—Matthew, Mark, Luke and John—which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ.

three french hensThree french hens
The "three French hens" stand for faith, hope and love—the three gifts of the Spirit that abide (1 Corinthians 13).

two turtle dovesTwo turtle doves
The "two turtle doves" refers to the Old and New Testaments.

a partridge in a pear treeA partridge in a pear tree
The "partridge in a pear tree" is Christ Jesus upon the Cross. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge because she would feign injury to decoy a predator away from her nestlings. She was even willing to die for them.

The tree is the symbol of the fall of the human race through the sin of Adam and Eve. It is also the symbol of its redemption by Jesus Christ on the tree of the Cross.

Now we've finished the twelve days of Christmas, and celebrated the Epiphany, Christmas is truly over! I hope you all had a great Christmas, and are enjoying a safe and blessed New Year. I hope also that you've enjoyed this series of posts. I've gone slightly off-topic from nature photography, but the next post should be back on focus! And now when you sing "The Twelve Days of Christmas" you'll be able to remember that the words you sing actually have a meaning - and maybe even impress people with your new-found knowledge! =D

This post is one of a series explaining the Twelve Days of Christmas. During the series I've shared information about each verse of this song. I hope you'll find the "coded" meanings as interesting as I have! For more information, you can also check out
appleseeds.org and CIN. Pictures from AtHomeWithGod.com

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