It is thought that the Christmas carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas” was written for the early Roman Catholics of England at a time when they were forbidden from openly practicing their religion. The carol was created so children could secretly learn about the Christian faith while just seeming to be taught a song. The words in the carol are like a secret code, with each object in the song referring to a tenet of the Christian faith. In the carol, the words “my true love” refer to God, and the word “me” refers to the Christian. So, the line “my true love gave to me” refers to the gifts given by God to Christians.
So, what are these gifts? This is encoded in the carol, too.
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me ….
1st Day of Christmas – A partridge in a pear tree = Jesus
2nd Day of Christmas – Two turtle doves = The Old and New Testaments
3rd Day of Christmas – Three French Horns = Faith, Hope and Charity
4th Day of Christmas – Four Calling Birds = The Four Gospels
5th Day of Christmas – Five Golden Rings = The First Five Books of the Bible
6th Day of Christmas – Six Geese a-laying = The Six Days of Creation
7th Day of Christmas – Seven Swans a-swimming = The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit
8th Day of Christmas – Eight Maids a-milking = The Beatitudes
9th Day of Christmas – Nine Ladies Dancing = The Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10th Day of Christmas – Ten Lords a-leaping = The Ten Commandments
11th Day of Christmas – Eleven Pipers Piping = The Eleven Faithful Apostles
12th Day of Christmas – Twelve Drummers Drumming = The Twelve Points of the Apostle Creed
“With all my heart I will praise you. I will give glory to your name forever, for you love me so much! You are constantly so kind! You have rescued me from deepest hell.”
As we hear “The Twelve Days of Christmas” while we are out and about this year, let’s remember its true meaning, why it was written and the deep desire of those persecuted to praise Our Lord. We have the freedom; let’s use if for Kingdom Purpose! On the First Day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – Jesus!
So today, we thank You, Lord, for giving us the freedom to worship You. We give thanks for the early Saints who sacrificed so much to spread Your Word. We pray for the strength and courage to share Your Word as well. And we pray that we are inspired this Christmas season to help others in a way we have never done before and to allow others to help us. Amen.