Twelve Days Of Christmas

Question: What is the spiritual symbolism in the "Twelve Days Of Christmas" song?

This song had its origins as a teaching tool. It was written to instruct young people in the meaning and content of the Christian faith. The twelve days are from December 25-January 6. Each gift on each day has a different spiritual meaning.

The "true love" mentioned in the song refers to the One who loves all people, God. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every person willing to receive what the greatest giver has to offer.

The "partridge in a pear tree" was Jesus Christ, who died on a tree as a gift from God.

The "two turtle doves" are the Old and New Testaments.

The "three French hens" were faith, hope and love the three gifts of the Spirit that abide. Our faith is what sustains us. Hope is what we receive as a result of our faith. God's love is forever.

The "four calling birds" were the four Gospels, which sing the song of salvation through Jesus Christ. The word gospel means "good news." There are four gospel accounts in the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The "five golden rings" were the first five books of the Bible: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These books tell the stories of the creation, Adam and Eve, Noah's ark, the ancestors, Moses, the exodus from Egypt, and the Ten Commandments, among others.

The "six geese a-laying" were the six days of creation.

The "seven swans a swimming" represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.

The "eight maids a milking" were the eight beatitudes, the eight statements reminding us of the virtues Christ taught and the way to implement those virtues.

The "nine ladies dancing" were nine fruits of the Holy Spirit, perfections that the Holy Spirit forms in us as the first fruits of eternal glory. The Holy Scriptures list the fruits as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

The "ten lords a-leaping" were the Ten Commandments that God gave Moses they were carved in stone by the finger of God. The first four are about our relationship with God; the last six concern our relationship with humankind.

The "eleven pipers piping" were the eleven faithful disciples.

The "twelve drummers drumming" were the twelve points of the Apostles' Creed, a brief summary of the Trinity and the person and work of Jesus Christ.

Credit for "Twelve days of Christmas:
Prepared by AACTchSong, AAC Staff Use of this material is protected under America Online and other copyright. Any use of this material must cite AOL's Academic Assistance Center and the author as a source


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