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Stories, Poems and Humor
Left Book Twelve Days of Christmas - The Story
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The Twelve Days of Christmas
(Dec. 25 - Jan. 5)


In 16th century England, after the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, the English who remained faithful to the Catholic Church found themselves on the wrong side of the law. They were forbidden by royal decree toteach the catechism to their children. So they disguised catecheticalteachings in metaphors and put them to a tune. "The Twelve Days of Christmas" is one of the resulting songs. The carol veils truths aboutChrist's life and message. The singer of the carol is an ordinary person who believes in Christ, and his "True Love" is God. The accumulative pattern of going back each time through all the verses teaches the ongoing abundant blessings of a loving God.

The partridge, a bird reputed to choose death to defend its young,is an ancient Christian symbol of Christ.

The Two Turtle Doves signify the sacrifice offered in the temple by Joseph and Mary at the presentation of Christ in the Temple.

The Three French Hens, priceless poultry in the 16th century England, presented the gifts of the Magi.

The Four Calling Birds are the four Gospel writers.

The Five Golden Rings represent the Torah, that is, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The Six Geese A-Laying signify the six day of creation.

The Seven Swans a Swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The Eight Maids A-Milking are the Beatitudes which nourish our spirituality.

The Nine Ladies Dancing refer to the nine choirs of angels.

The Ten Lords A-Leaping are the Ten Commandments.

The Eleven Pipers Piping signify the eleven apostles who proclaimed the Resurrection.

The Twelve Drummers Drumming are the twelve basic beliefs enshrined in the Apostle's Creed, which is an ancient baptismal profession of faith.

The next time you hear "The Twelve Days of Christmas", use the occasion tolift your heart and your mind to God, praying for the true peace of Christin the World.



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