Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Twelve Days of Christmas...Code words revealed! Peace on Earth!
As Christmas approaches - and Carols are sung out by Merry Choristers on street corners around the country - I am reminded by a Pastor at St. Mary's Church (the 1st Cathedral in California) that the "Twelve Days of Christmas" was used to Catechize young Catholics in England from the middle of the 16th Century to the middle of the 18th Century.
Christians may recall that during that period of history, Catholics were not permitted to openly profess (or practice) their faith.
So, the Carol was written to help preserve the Catholic faith.
For example, each gift (or element) mentioned in the beautiful Carol was a "code" word that was used to help children remember the Christian story as follows:
*The partridge in the pear tree was Jesus Christ
*Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments
*Three French hens stood for faith, hope, and charity
*Four calling birds were four gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke & John
*Five golden rings were the Torah or Law (5 books of old testament)
*The Six geese-a-laying stood for the six days of creation
*Seven swans-a-swimming represented sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit which were Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy
*The Eight maids-a-milking were the eight beatitudes
*The Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit such as 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 Apostle's Creed
Praise the Almighty that this holiday Season all may practice the faith of their choice with their loved ones and that there will be Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards mankind!