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Saturday, January 6, 2018

Merry Christmas and
Happy 12th Day of Christmas!

This is the 12th and Final Day (including the twelfth night) of the Christmas Celebration. This is the day when the Magi were said to have arrived in Bethlehem to worship the new born king. The Magi were the only non-Jewish persons mentioned in the Christmas Story and represent the Gentiles (the non-Jewish community throughout the world). It is the day of gift-giving, first begun with gifts brought by the Magi to Bethlehem where Jesus was born.

On the twelfth day of Christmas
my true love sent to me:
12 Drummers Drumming
11 Pipers Piping
10 Lords a Leaping
9 Ladies Dancing
8 Maids a Milking
7 Swans a Swimming
6 Geese a Laying
5 Golden Rings
4 Calling Birds
3 French Hens
2 Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

If you missed the fuller history we published back on December 26th and want the meaning and purpose of these twelve days, click HERE.

If you just want a quick review of the what the 12 Days represent, click on the "Read More" below.


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: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

In the Christmas song, "The 12 Days of Christmas," the "her" to whom the gifts are being given refers to "The Church." Her "True Love" refers to the one true God [of Love]." Here are what the daily "gifts" represent:

  1. -The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ. In some Christian contexts, the pear symbolizes the Virgin and Child, likely because of its sweetness. In the novel Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, the pear tree symbolizes inner peace. The pear is a symbol of affection in many cultures. Some protestants have claimed that the pear tree represents the cross which stands at opposition to the idea of affection and peace at the time of his birth.
  2. -Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
  3. -Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
  4. -The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
  5. -The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
  6. -The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
  7. -Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
  8. -The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
  9. -Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
  10. -The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
  11. -The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
  12. -The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

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