The Twelve Days of Christmas

by Pastor Mark Jordan

Do you ever feel let down after Christmas? I know I sure can. It’s important to remember, though, that Christmas is the beginning of a season that lasts twelve days from Christmas Day to the Epiphany, when we commemorate the visit of the Magi (or wise men) to Jesus.

You might be familiar with the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. There is a legend that the song originated as a secret way to teach tenets of the Christian faith in times when it could not be practices openly. Though there are those who dispute the validity of those claims, I thought I’d share them with you as we still contemplate the twelve days through which we are journeying right now…

The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ’s sadness over the fate of Jerusalem.

2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments

3 French Hens = Faith, Hope and Love

4 Calling Birds = the Four Gospels

5 Golden Rings = The first Five Books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch,” which gives the history of man’s fall from grace and God’s Law

6 Geese A-laying = the six days of creation

7 Swans A-swimming = the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

8 Maids A-milking = the eight beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount

9 Ladies Dancing = the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control)

10 Lords A-leaping = the Ten Commandments

11 Pipers Piping = the eleven faithful apostles

12 Drummers Drumming = the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s Creed

Though there are reasons to doubt the validity of the claims that this was a secret way to teach Christianity in a time of oppression, it can definitely point to things to help remind us of of the fullness of God and how the birth of Jesus changes everything.

Prayer: Dear Lord, thank you for how all truth points to you. As we journey through the Twelve Days of Christmas, help me remember that you gave your all in Jesus so I may come to know deeply you love the world, and me in particular. Thank yo for Jesus, and it’s in His name I pray. Amen.