Posted 12-17-2004 at 05:27:14
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I received this in an email this morning. Perhaps you have seen it, but, it's worth reading again.
"THE TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS"
What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning known only to the members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for religious reality which the children could remember. The partridge in the pear was Jesus Christ. Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments. Three French hens stood for faith, hope, and love. The four calling birds were four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament. The six geese a laying stood for the six days of creation. Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy-Spirit * Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy. The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes. Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy-Spirit * Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control. The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments. The eleven pipers-piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples. The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know that strange song became a Christmas carol * so pass it on if you wish. May God grant you peace and happiness throughout this Christmas Season!