Description: You’re all familiar with the Christmas song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas” I think. To most it’s a delightful nonsense rhyme set to music. In the 16th century if you sang this song, you could have lost your life.
Verses: Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17
In the 16th century, England proclaimed an official state church, and any other religious teaching was strictly forbidden. For over 300 years, the free expression of Christian Living was not allowed—During this time, people fled England for a new life in America—PILGRIMS…leaving the OLD WORLD…
Christian parents during this time, were looking for a new way to teach their children the basic doctrines of the Bible. Someone had a brilliant idea! Teach the faith in a form of a song. This would make it easy to remember and possibly disguise what the true meaning of the twelve days of Christmas really meant.
The song’s gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The “true love” mentioned in the song doesn’t refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The “me” who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
The other symbols mean the following:
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch”, which gives the history of man’s fall from grace.
6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven sacraments
8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed
I was quite amazed how a song that always showed joy, dancing and celebration when caught performing could have been an horrific death. I am glad that for the sake of a young person wanting to learn the basics of their faith made sense, was difficult if caught demonstrated out in public.
In America for the most part we do not have a potential punishment that could be subpoenaed if we sang a joyful song. Even if the song was something simple:
This is my story this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long. (Repeat)
This song echoes the joy of my salvation and praising my Savior all day long could had the same restrictions if someone wanted to punish me for my celebration. I am thankful that this song is not used to hurt anyone with their joyous merriment during this time of the year.
But in many other parts of the world, songs of joy for a celebrated birth that came to our world as a gift from our Heavenly Father, still causes some types of faith to squelch out any blessed hope that was promised to our world that dark Christmas night when a little boy born in a manger to save mankind –or in real terms provide the ultimate sacrifice for our sins, all of us. Bottom line, enjoy and have the gift of salvation without consequences.
Prayer: Lord I am thankful I can sing the special songs in honor of a special night when a child was born in a manger just as prophesied in the bible –A Savior who would take all the sins of the world. Shepherds, Wiseman and animals embarked on great journeys to see this site, we cannot see it but we can sing the songs and read the stories from the bible to get near to that special moment–and enjoy the true meaning of Christmas –Jesus. Amen