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A one-page devotional thought.  

  • Writer's pictureGlen Pitts


Sitting with my brother Craig and his wife Dorothy over a morning cup of tea, Craig mentioned how he had always been baffled by the Christmas carol, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  “What in the world do leaping Lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas,” Craig questioned.  Ironically, earlier that morning, I had listened to the carol on my car radio and wondered some of the same things. 

Craig then brought out a typewritten response to this that he had put together some years earlier after researching the history of this carol.  This is what he wrote.

“From 1558 until 1829 Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly.  Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for the young Catholics.  It has two levels of meaning.  The surface meaning plus a hidden (or clandestine) meaning known only to members of their church.

Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

1.      The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

2.      Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

3.      Three French hens stood for faith, hope, and love – and the trinity of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

4.      The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

5.      The five golden rings recalled the Torah of Law, the first five books of the Bible.

6.      The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

7.      Seven swans a swimming represented the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and mercy.

8.      The eight maids a milking were the eight beatitudes.

9.      Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

10.  The ten lords a leaping were the Ten Commandments.

11.  The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

12.  The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostle’s Creed and also the twelve tribes of Israel.”

Thank God because of Jesus, what had been a “mystery” for generations had now became fully revealed.  Paul saw himself as one of the chief proclaimers of that “mystery.”  He said, “I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fulness – the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints …which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.”    (Colossians 1:25-28)

JESUS is the reason for the season!  Without Him, God cannot be found.  (John 14:6)

Janette joins me in wishing you a blessed CHRISTmas season and a deep sense of His presence and peace.

Glen (Pitts)

The Barnabas Group  / Loads of Love

Photo nativity scene vertep religious concept star of bethlehem birth of the son of god jesus christ the virgin mary

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