The Vicar’s Corner: Father Manny Explains The Twelve Days of Christmas

History can be, on occasion, rather unclear. In fact history conceals key truths and accuracies that only fosters continued speculation and hypotheses. Some things are sheer fact – no question, no doubt. Other things, well, are not so clear. There are many questions that need to be posed. In the “spirit” of Christmas, I’ll share with you a little bit of that “unsubstantiated history” whose origin is up for debate.

The Christmas carol posted here is one such piece of history that really has no clear lineage. Some claim one thing while others hold fast to another historical tract. One source has the song’s origin to be found in France while another school of thought adamantly states the song was “born” in Jolly Ol’ England. Are the lyrics a Catechism for Christians who are not allowed to practice their faith? Some say yes while others say, not so fast. Regardless…this piece of Christmas lore has provided many smiles and much comforting warmth since it was first sung oh, so many, many years ago.

And yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and yes, Virginia, this song does have, for all of us a very special meaning and message.

Read on and if you so wish, sing along…it is Christmas time, after all!

“The 12 Days of Christmas”:

*The partridge in the pear tree represents Jesus Christ.

*The two turtle doves represent the Old and New Testament.

*The three French hens represent Faith, Hope and Love.

*The four calling birds are the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

*The five golden rings recall the Torah, or Law; the first five books of the Old Testament.

*The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.

*The seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit…Prophesy, Service, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership and Mercy.

*The eight maids a-milking are the Eight Beatitudes.

*The nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit…Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self Control.

*The ten lords a-leaping represent the Ten Commandments.

*The eleven pipers piping stand for the eleven faithful disciples.

*The twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of belief in the Apostles Creed.

There you are; a little history to savor and share. Christmas is a special time for sharing, though our faith calls us to be good stewards and share our gifts, our talents, our blessings and our faith throughout the year. Yet, sharing takes on a special and sacred nature right about now. Maybe because we do so in honor and in a show of our love for the Christ Child who came to us, in human form and continues to live within each and every one of us.



Enjoy and celebrate…as now you know, sort of, “the rest of the story.”


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