I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year.
In the 17th century after Oliver Cromwell came to power in England, Catholics were subsequently not permitted to practice their faith openly. Tradition holds that Catholic parents then developed the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, not only to teach their beliefs surreptitiously to their children but also to help them remember them. So it is that the partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus (the partridge will sacrifice its life to save its young). The two turtle doves refer to The Old and New Testaments. The three French hens stand for faith, hope, and charity or the three gifts the Wise Men brought to the baby Jesus. The four calling birds designate the four Evangelists–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The five golden rings denote the first five books of the Old Testament. The six geese a-laying constitute the six days of Creation as described in Genesis. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord). The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes. The nine ladies dancing depict the nine choirs of angels (Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and regular angels); or the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control). The ten lords a-leaping point to the Ten Commandments. The eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful Apostles. And the twelve drummers drumming signify the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. ~Romans 15:4 ✝
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