The Twelve Days of Christmas is a tradition observed by many Christians. This celebration begins with the birth of Christ on December 25 (Christmas) and concludes with the coming of the Magi, the wise men, on January 6 (Epiphany).
You’ve heard the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and probably know most if not all the words. It begins “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me … a partridge in a pear tree.” The song continues with the second through twelfth days of Christmas, identifying each of the other gifts “my true love gave to me” on each of those days.
A popular theory is that the song’s lyrics are coded references to Christianity and that the song was written to help Christians learn and pass on the tenets of their faith while avoiding persecution. Though the myth-debunking Snopes website disagrees with that theory, the spiritual connections are interesting enough to share. So here we go:
The Twelve Days of Christmas
A partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ
Two Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
Three French Hens = Faith, Hope, and Love
Four Calling Birds = the four Gospels and/or the four Evangelists
Five Golden Rings = the first five books of the Old Testament, aka the Pentateuch
Six Geese A-Laying = the six days of Creation
Seven Swans A-Swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight Maids A-Milking = the eight beatitudes
Nine Ladies Dancing = the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten Lords A-Leaping = the Ten Commandments
Eleven Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
Twelve Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
On another more serious note, some of you might remember that this will be the first Christmas after my dear mother went to heaven January 10 of this year. The following words are most meaningful to our family and I hope to yours as well:
The first Christmas after you lose someone you love is hard.
You won’t feel like celebrating, but you’ll go along with it. For the kids. For the family.
It will hurt. The presents not bought. The chair not sat in.
The memories of past Christmases that threaten to suck the joy out of the whole day.
But you will get through it. You may even smile through the tears. It’s OK.
If you can, thank God for the Christmases you had with your departed loved ones.
Start a new tradition in their memory.
And remember the love you shared through the holidays.
Terry and I pray for you and your family a joyful and blessed Twelve Days of Christmas!