The 12 Days of Christmas

Buff Wagner sang and danced to the song “The 12 days of Christmas” at the Women’s Christmas Brunch Dec. 9, 2017. In addition to explaining the origins, somewhat apocryphal, of the  concept, she performed the well-known Christmas carol counting down the days from Christmas to Epiphany on January 6. Watch this performance below and consider Buff’s thoughts on how to understand the deep Truths hidden in this song.


One Myth Behind the Song

The Twelve Days of Christmas was created in England during a time of religious persecution when Catholicism was outlawed in the 16th to 18th centuries. The song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” was written as a kind of secret catechism that could be sung in public without fear of arrest – a learning or memory aid to Christians in fact. Each verse refers to a teaching of church doctrine — with the partridge being Christ who died on a tree and the “True Love” being God the Father, who gave us all gifts. The twelve days of Christmas are the twelve days between Christmas Day, Dec. 25th, the birth of Jesus, and the Epiphany, Jan. 6th, the day Christians celebrate the arrival of the Magi (Wise Men) and the revelation of Christ as the light of the world.

More about the song is available on Wikipedia here.

The Rest of Buff’s Story With One Caveat

(My husband Larry, always the engineer, decided to confirm on Snopes (a website that verifies rumor from truth).  This is false but I’m using it anyway because we can still learn a lot about the TRUTH by studying Scripture.)

Each element in the song is a code word for religious truth:

  1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
  2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testament.
  3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.
    • 1 Cor. 13 is the Love Chapter. Verse 13:  And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.
  4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
  5. The five gold rings recall the Hebrew Torah (Law) or the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
  6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.
    • Genesis 1 (Read from The Message Bible)
  7. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.  This is a problem since scripture lists nine.  But remember – this was done with Catholicism in mind.
    • According to Catholics the Seven Gifts (credited to early Christian writers designated as Church Fathers) are:
      • Wisdom – Understanding – Counsel – Fortitude – Knowledge – Piety – Fear of the Lord
      • But according to the Holy Bible there are 9 Gifts:  
        • I Corinthians 12: 4 – 11: Word of Wisdom – Word of Knowledge – Faith – Gifts of Healing – Working of Miracles – Prophecy – Discerning of spirits – Different kinds of tongues – Interpretation of tongues
  8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes.
    • Matthew 5: 1- 10
  9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit.
    • Galatians 5: 22 – 23  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance (patience and long- suffering), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.
  10. The ten lords a –leaping are the Ten Commandments.
    • Exodus 20: 1 – 17 (Read from The Message Bible)
    • Jesus was asked which one was most important.  His response was – “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”  Matthew 22: 34 – 40
    • Interestingly, the first 4 Commandments have to do with Love of God and the last 6 have to do with Love of Others.
  11. Eleven pipers piping represent the eleven faithful Apostles.
    • Matthew 10: 1-4
      • Simon Peter
      • Andrew
      • James
      • John
      • Bartholomew (2nd name) or Nathanael
      • Matthew or Levi
      • Thomas
      • James, son of Alphaeos
      • Thaddaeus (surname) or Jude
      • Simon the Zealot
  12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles Creed.

The following was taken from (but edited by me): www.dummies.com/religion/christianity/catholicims/the-twelve-articles-of-catholic-faith

Article 1: I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. This affirms that God exists, that he’s a Triune God (one God in three persons, known as the Holy Trinity), and that he created the known universe.

Article 2: I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. This attests that Jesus is the Son of God and that he’s most certainly divine. The word Lord implies divinity, because the Greek Kyrios and the Hebrew Adonai both mean “lord” and are ascribed only to God. So the use of Lord with Jesus is meant to profess his divinity. The name Jesus comes from the Hebrew Jeshua, meaning “God saves.” So we believe that Jesus is Savior.

Article 3: Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. This affirms the human nature of Christ, meaning he had a real, true human mother, and also affirms his divine nature, meaning he had no human father but by the power of the Holy Spirit was conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary. He’s therefore considered both God and man by Christians—fully divine and fully human.

Article 4: He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. The human nature of Christ could feel pain and actually die, and he did on Good Friday. The mention of Pontius Pilate by name wasn’t meant so much to vilify him forever in history but to place the Crucifixion within human history.

Reference is made to an actual historical person, the Roman governor of Judea, appointed by Caesar, to put the life and death of Jesus within a chronological and historical context. It also reminds the faithful that one can’t blame all Jews for the death of Jesus, as some have erroneously done over the ages. Certain Jewish leaders conspired against Jesus, but the actual death sentence was given by a Roman and carried out by Roman soldiers. So both Jew and Gentile alike shared in the spilling of innocent blood. Antisemitism based on the Crucifixion of Jesus is inaccurate, unjust, and erroneous.

Article 5: He descended to the dead. The third day he arose again from the dead. This passage affirms that on the third day he rose, meaning Jesus came back from the dead by divine power. He wasn’t just clinically dead for a few minutes; he was dead dead — then he rose from the dead. More than a resuscitated corpse, Jesus possessed a glorified and risen body.

Article 6: He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. The Ascension reminds the faithful that after the human and divine natures of Christ were united in the Incarnation, they could never be separated. In other words, after the saving death and Resurrection, Jesus didn’t dump his human body as if he didn’t need it anymore. Jesus went, body and soul, into heaven, in a glorified, risen body.

Article 7: He will come again to judge the living and the dead. This article affirms the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the world to be its judge. Judgment Day, Day of Reckoning, Doomsday—they’re all metaphors for the end of time when what’s known as the General Judgment will occur.

Article 8: I believe in the Holy Spirit, This part reminds the believer that God exists in three persons — the Holy Trinity — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, a distinct person equal to the other two.

Article 9: the holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints, The Church is more than a mere institution. It’s an essential dimension and aspect of spiritual life.

Article 10: the forgiveness of sins, Christ came to save the world from sin. Belief in the forgiveness of sins is essential to Christianity

Article 11: the resurrection of the body,

Article 12: And in life everlasting. As Christ Our Savior died, so, too, must mere mortals. As he rose, so shall all human beings. Death is the only way to cross from this life into the next.

These 12 Articles of the Apostles Creed are the tenets of our faith.  A true believer holds fast to the twelve points.  The number twelve represents Divine Order, Divine Government in the Bible.  This is God’s expectation of us.  It is His order and how He wants us to govern our lives. He desires for us to believe in Him, in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit – not simply for our own salvation and a place in heaven for all eternity but for the here and now.  Jesus himself taught us to pray that God’s Kingdom was to come and His will was to be done ON EARTH just as it is in heaven.  For that to happen we need to release the power of the Holy Spirit into our lives.  If you have water running through the pipes in your home it does you no good unless you turn on the faucet and let it flow out.  Jesus told us He was sending us the comforter, the Holy Spirit and He also said that we would do greater works than He.  Even before Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to his followers at Pentecost, He sent his twelve disciples out with the following instructions (Matthew 10: 7-8):  As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. He enabled His disciples to do these things 2000 years ago. The Holy Spirit enables us to do these things today. My prayer for you this Christmas season is that you will open up the gift of the Holy Spirit in your own life, step out in faith and see what miraculous things He will do through your life.