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Dec 4, 2011 AD

"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
God's Presents to Mankind

The 12 presents spoken of in The Twelve Days of Christmas has recently been spoken of by our money-centric media-Scribes as summed up in much it would cost to buy all 12 presents for your loved one. And those costs have just been calculated to have soared over $100,000 for the first time.

But few know the secret of what they really represent - God's presents of love to mankind.

Catechism Song
"The Twelve Days of Christmas"
On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me...
Gift Interpretation
A partridge in a pear tree One Promise: Jesus
Two turtle doves Two Testaments: Old and New
Three French hens Three theological virtues
Four calling birds Four Gospels
Five gold rings Five books beginning the Old Testament
Six geese a-laying Six days of Creation
Seven swans a-swimming Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
Eight maids a-milking Eight Beatitudes
Nine ladies dancing Nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
Ten lords a-leaping Ten Commandments
Eleven pipers piping Eleven faithful Apostles
Twelve drummers drumming Twelve points of the Apostles' Creed

What we all know today as a Christian song, "Twelve Days of Christmas", probably originated in Catholic France as a song named "La Foi de la loi", or translated into English "The Faith of the Law"; although it is hard to imagine how these English names for the French song correlate to anything spiritual.

  • A good stuffing without bones,
  • Two breasts of veal,
  • Three joints of beef,
  • Four pigs' trotters,
  • Five legs of mutton,
  • Six partridges with cabbage,
  • Seven spitted rabbits,
  • Eight plates of salad,
  • Nine dishes for a chapter of canons,
  • Ten full casks,
  • Eleven beautiful full-breasted maidens, and
  • Twelve musketeers with their swords
During the reign of King George III, the English who were so intolerant of the American colonialists that they rebelled against England, had also long been intolerant of Roman Catholicism.

Catholics in English translated the French song in 1780 AD, giving new English lyrics for the song which were meant to be a means for children to secretly remember Catholic Catechism.

Or as Wikipedia dismisses: "A bit of modern folklore claims that the song's lyrics were written as a "catechism song" to help young Catholics learn their faith, at a time when practicing Catholicism was discouraged in England (1558 until 1829)."

The 12 Days explained

1) A partridge in a pear tree = Christ

Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge, which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless persecuted nest-lings. A partridge in a pear tree looking down upon mankind.

As was the tradition of the day, the Baby Jesus was taken to Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord, as it was said, "Every male that opens the womb shall be consecrated to the Lord, and to offer the sacrifice of a pair of turtledoves" --Luke 2:23

2) Two turtle doves = The Old and New Testaments

"A pair of Turtledoves" has become the two Testaments of the Bible. The Old Testament preceding and anticipating the birth of Jesus with the New Testament rejoicing in the birth of Jesus and remorseful over the "sacrifice" of Christ for our sins.

3) Three French hens = The Three Theological Virtues

Not all can be apostles, prophets, teachers, givers of mighty deeds or have gifts of healing or speaking in tongues.(1 Corinthians 12:28-29)

For the common man, Faith Hope and Charity are the three Virtues, or that is -- virtues of the common French Hen Chicken?

"Love is patient, love is never, hope and love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love". - 1 Corinthians 13-4-13

4) Four calling birds = The Four Gospels

Easy enough : Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

5) Five gold rings = The first Five books or The Pentateuch

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy

6) Six geese a-laying = Six days of Creation

Six geese "creating" eggs corresponding to God spending six days to "create" the world.

7) Seven swans a-swimming = Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit

Roman Catholicism teaches that initiates receive these seven gifts at Baptism, and that they are strengthened at Confirmation, so that one can proclaim the truths of the faith.

In the Catholic catechism, the seven virtues refer to the combination of two lists of virtues, the 4 cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, restraint or temperance, and courage or fortitude, (from ancient Greek philosophy) and the 3 theological virtues of faith, hope, and love or charity (from the letters of Paul of Tarsus); these were adopted by the Church Fathers as the seven virtues.

(The author must apologize since there seems to be 3 lists of 7)

Restraint is the keystone of the seven holy virtues. The other holy virtues are created through selfless pursuits:

  • Valor: Pursuit of Knowledge (Courage or Fortitude)
  • Generosity: Pursuit of Charity (Charity)
  • Liberality: Pursuit of Will (Faith)
  • Diligence: Pursuit of Ethics (Justice)
  • Patience: Pursuit of Peace (Restraint or temperance)
  • Kindness: Pursuit of Love (Hope and Love)
  • Humility: Pursuit of Modesty (Prudence)

There are other lists of seven. There are the "Seven Virtues" to counter the "Seven Vices":

  • chastity to counter lust,
  • temperance to counter gluttony,
  • charity to counter avarice and greed,
  • diligence to counter acedia, discouragement and sloth,
  • kindness to counter wrath,
  • patience to counter envy, and
  • humility to counter pride.

Finally, as outlined in the work of St. Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologica, there are seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Where seven Capital Virtues correspond to the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:

  • The gift of wisdom corresponds to the virtue of charity.
  • The gifts of understanding and knowledge correspond to the virtue of faith.
  • The gift of counsel (right judgment) corresponds to the virtue of prudence.
  • The gift of fortitude corresponds to the virtue of courage.
  • The gift of fear of the Lord corresponds to the virtue of hope.
  • The gift of Reverence corresponds to the virtue of justice.
  • The virtue of temperance, no Gift is directly assigned

8) Eight maids a-milking = Beatitudes

Lowly milk maids are the symbol for the Beatitudes

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land.
  • Blessed are they who mourn: for they shall be comforted.
  • Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.
  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
  • Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.
  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
  • Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    -- Gospel of St. Matthew (5:3-10)

9) Nine ladies dancing = Fruits of the Holy Spirit

The ladies do not need laws to dance. ("Against such things there is no law.")

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit are works that we can perform only with the aid of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the performance of such works is an indication that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian believer.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

10) Ten lords a-leaping = The Commandments

Even lords have laws from God they have to obey.

The laws of our Lord known as the Ten Commandments.

11) Eleven pipers piping = Faithful Apostles

Without Judas, there remained only 11 faithful Apostles to sing songs of praise to the Lord, or after he departed, bagpipes of remorseful songs about the Crucifixion.

12) Twelve drummers drumming = Apostles' Creed

Catholics believe that the Apostles decided Christianity would march to these 12 theological drum beats.

1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. The holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. The forgiveness of sins,
11. The resurrection of the body,
12. Life everlasting.

The Apostles' Creed

I believe in in God, the Father Almighty,
Creator of Heaven and Earth
And in Jesus Christ
His only Son, Our Lord
Who was conceived of the Holy Spirit
Born of the Virgin Mary
Suffered under Pontius Pilate
Was crucified, died and was buried.
On the third day, he rose again
He ascended into Heaven
and is seated at the right hand
of God, the Father Almighty.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Holy Catholic Church,
the Communion of Saints,
10 )the forgiveness of sins,
11) the resurrection of the body,
12) and life everlasting.

Kevin Begos of AP
Cost to give '12 Days of Christmas' tops $100K

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