Lura and I wanted to wish you and your family a most joyous Christmas so we recorded this video message at our church, Trinity Evangelical in North Reading:
To expound on my comments about the “Twelve Days of Christmas,” I’d like to share with you an article I recently read about this seasonal song whose origins and meanings few of us know. Upon learning of the song’s origins, one can’t help but think about the threats to the celebration of Christmas, and to the public expressions of faith in general, that certain elements in our society are posing.
I hope you enjoy reading this article about the “Twelve Days of Christmas” and its Roman Catholic origins in the face of persecution. Above all, as we celebrate this Christmas, let’s remember to pray for our own religious freedoms here in America, as well as for persecuted Christians around the world:
Decoding a Christmas Carol
(From Charisma Magazine, December 2011)
The 12 days of Christmas mentioned in the carol by this name refer to the 12 days of feasting and celebration originally designated in the sixth century as a time to commemorate the incarnation of Christ. The 12-day period began on Dec. 25 and ended on Jan. 5.
The carol dates to the 16th century when Roman Catholics were experiencing religious persecution in England. From 1558 until 1829 it was illegal for them to practice or express their faith in any form in public.
In fact, to be caught in public with any material about the Christian faith brought imprisonment and death. Out of this intense persecution, “The 12 Days of Christmas” emerged as a kind of coded message affirming belief in Christ and in the Bible.
Each of the 12 days represents an important aspect of the Christian faith that the disciple was to learn and adhere to. Here are meanings hidden in this clever Christmas carol:
First day: The “partridge in a pear tree” represents the birth of Christ on Christmas Day. Christ is portrayed as a partridge because of the instinctual habit of mother partridges to pretend to be injured in order to decoy predators away from their helpless young.
Second day: “Two turtle doves” refers to the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Third day: “Three French hens” stands for the three virtues written about in 1 Corinthians 13:13: faith, hope and love.
Fourth day: “Four calling birds” symbolizes the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Fifth day: “Five golden rings” points to the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.
Sixth day: “Six geese a-laying” stands for the six days of creation and the affirmation that Almighty God is the creator and sustainer of all things.
Seventh day: “Seven swans a-swimming” represents the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Romans 11: prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving and generosity, leadership, and compassion and mercy.
Eighth day: “Eight maids a-milking” stands for the eight beatitudes Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount (see Matt. 5), each beginning with “Blessed are“: (1) 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; and (8) those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
Ninth day: “Nine ladies dancing” represents the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.
10th day: “Ten lords a-leaping” symbolizes the Ten Commandments (see Ex. 20:1-17).
11th day: “Eleven pipers piping” refers to the 11 faithful disciples. Because Judas Iscariot, the 12th disciple, betrayed Jesus he is not included among the faithful.
12th day: “Twelve drummers drumming” emphasizes the 12 doctrinal points of the Apostles’ Creed, which outlines the core beliefs of the Christian faith.
This article was originally featured HERE.
Again, from my own family, as well as our entire MFI family, Merry Christmas!