Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Happy 6th Day of Christmas!

I am in love with the idea of Christmastide. To rejoice in Christmas into the new year is fantastic. I am rescued from dismal post-Christmas days and have reason to continue rejoicing.

Back when I was growing up, my family relished the Christmas holiday as we rejoiced in the birth of our Savior. All the anticipation and excitement culminated in the climactical Christmas celebration, ending in a single day. But the let-down the day after was always excruciating, especially for a young child. It wasn't that Christmastide was forgotten, just overlooked.

Which is why I cherish the Church and its traditions and seasons. Our tree is still up; the candles are still lit; Christ is here and exalted. We are relishing Christmas. Alleluia, alleluia!

Thanks to our dear Princeton friend, J, who enlightened me today on the symbolism in the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas". You may learn a thing or two as well.
1. Partridge in a Pear Tree: Christ

2. Two Turtle Doves: Old and New Testament

3. Three French Hens: the Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love

4. Four Calling Birds: the four Gospels

5. Five Golden Rings: the five books of the Torah in the Old Testament

6. Six Geese A-Laying: the six days of Creation

7. Seven Swans A-Swimming: the gifts of the Holy Spirit, e.g., ministry, prophecy, exhortation, teaching, compassion, giving, leading AND the seven sacraments (can’t forget them!)

8. Eight Maids A-Milking: the Beatitudes

9. Nine Ladies Dancing: the fruit of the Holy Spirit, e.g., love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control

10. Ten Lords A-Leaping: the ten commandments

11. Eleven Pipers Piping: the eleven faithful Apostles

12. Twelve Drummers Drumming: the twelve tenants of faith found in the Apostles Creed


Ruth said...

I just learned about the meaning of The Twelve Days of Christmas this year actually from a book called, Stories Behind the Best-Loved Songs of Christmas by Ace Collins. The only difference in the book is that the three French hens represent the three gifts brought by the Wise Men but the Theological Virtues sound good too! It says that the song came about as a means of catechesis when Catholics were driven underground during the persecution in Britain that began in the sixteenth century.

B-Mama said...

Unfortunately, I just found the following information on the origin of the song:
"The Austin Public Library research department found information in the book Twelve Days of Christmas: A Celebration and History, by Leigh Grant, ISBN 0-679-74038-4. It says the words from this song first appeared in a book titled Mirth without Mischief. That book came out in 1780 (or 1783) in England. The tune apparently dates back much further and came from France. That 1780 book describes "The Twelve Days of Christmas" as a "memory and forfeits game" played by children at that time. The leader recited the first verse, the next child recited the second verse, and this
continued until someone missed his or her verse and had to pay some kind of penalty in the game. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" became popular at the "12th-night parties" that took place in the Christmas season."

Ruth, I like your and J's info a lot better. I guess we'll ascribe to those as our own interpretations...