Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Twelve Day of Christmas, Confusion




















There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.

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?
This week, I found out.


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 young Catholics.
It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden 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.


-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--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 the Apostles' Creed.


So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol...so pass it on if you wish.'

 Now I give you the Christian version we sing:

(The Twelve Days of Christmas) by - Carroll Roberson



On the first day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: salvation full and free.


On the second day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the third day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: Peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the fourth day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: love for all men, Peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the fifth day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the sixth day of Christmas Jesus gave to me; power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the seventh day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the eighth day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the ninth day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: mansions above, a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the tenth day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: streets of pure gold, mansions above, a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the eleventh day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: a thousand tongues to sing, streets of pure gold, mansions above, a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.


On the twelfth day of Christmas Jesus gave to me: eternity to praise, a thousand tongues to sing, streets of pure gold, mansions above, a robe and a crown, a body glorified, power from on high, joy for my soul, love for all men, peace in my heart, everlasting life, and salvation full and free.

2 comments:

Grammy Blick said...

Thanks for that second rendition. Naturally, I'm going to copy it for our Sunday School girls.

Barbara said...

Amen, My husband and I have been singing it for years, we have taught it to the children of our church also, God bless you and may this message that the song carries inlight everyone who hears it this year. God bless you grammy an thanks for posting.