22 December 2010

12 days of Christmas...the back story

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 the Messiah Y'shua. (Whose birth is the centre of this day)
-Two turtle doves were the Older and Newer Testaments (the Whole Bible). (which testify of the true faith)
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love. (See the chapter in the Bible: 1 Corinthians 13.)
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John. (calling for our response in faith)
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Pentateuch, the first five books of the Older Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation. (on which lots of things were laid!)
-Seven swans a-swimming are the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--
Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy. (see Romans 12)
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes. (Found in the Bible in Matthew chapter 5: People who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, the Gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake)
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--(Found in the Bible in Galatians chapter 5)
Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments. (Found in the Bible in Exodus chapter 20)
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples. (Without Judas, who betrayed Y'shua for 30 pieces of silver)
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
for a one-by-one, detailed explanation of the Creed see my lessons here: Apostles Creed It's the lessons 1-12. But you are welcome to read more and more... of course.

Merry Messiah-mas!

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