We are all enjoying the Christmas songs on the radio this time of year. The most beautiful songs are those proclaiming the Message of the incarnation of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, the real Reason for the Season. Some of the secular songs about this season are beautiful musically. Other secular songs communicate the world’s crass commercialization of this holy day, and they leave me cold. But one song in particular I have always thought of as pure nonsense – The Twelve Days of Christmas.
We all know the song. The melody is undoubtedly playing in your minds right now. But who needs those gifts? And who would ever get that many gifts?! Talk about commercialization and materialism! In addition, the repetition was always a real burden for me.
But I have recently had my mind and my heart opened to the truth about The Twelve Days of Christmas. With understanding has come a great appreciation for this song and its profound message.
From 1558 until 1829, many were not permitted to practice their faith openly in England due to religious persecution. Someone during that era wrote The Twelve Days of Christmas as an “underground in broad daylight” means to teach the children about their faith.
“My True Love” is God the Father, the One True God Who is Love (John 17:3, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, 1 John 4:8). What did our True Love give us?
The partridge in a pear tree = Jesus Christ
Two turtle doves = Old and New Testaments
Three French hens = faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Four calling birds = four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John)
Five golden rings = Torah/Law/Books of Moses ( Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy)
Six geese a-laying = six days of creation
Seven swans a-swimming = the seven-fold gifts of the Holy Spirit in Romans 12:6-8 (Prophesy, Service, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy)
Eight maids a-milking = the eight beatitudes, the last of which was the driving force behind this coded song (Matthew 5:3-10)
Nine ladies dancing = nine fruits of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 (Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self Control)
Ten lords a-leaping = the ten commandments
Eleven pipers piping = the eleven faithful disciples
Twelve drummers drumming = the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed, another teaching aid in a time when Bibles were rare
When you add up the number of gifts given by our True Love during those twelve days, you get 1 + 3 + 6 + 10 + 15 + 21 + 28 + 36 + 45 + 55 + 66 + 78 = 364 gifts, or one for every day of the year. God’s blessings are overflowing (Psalm 23:5)!
So now, rather than ignoring this “silly song”, we can sing it from the depths of our heart with abounding joy to celebrate the priceless, supernatural gifts we have received by faith. We rejoice in the truth that Jesus Christ is the center of everything and everyday.
Merry Christmas to you all!