It’s Still The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Down the Draw


Made famous by Bing Crosby and The Andrews Sisters, The Twelve Days of Christmas song remains popular to sing at holiday gatherings.
Yet, most people really don’t know the true meaning of the words.
Some families choose to mark the twelve-day period by observing feast days of various saints including St. Stephen December 26. They plan daily Christmas-related activities.
But for many, things go back to business as usual after December 25.
The Twelve Days of Christmas is the period in Christian theology that marks the span between the birth of Christ and the coming of the Magi, the three wise men. It begins on December 25, Christmas, and runs through January 6, the Epiphany, sometimes also called Three Kings’ Day.
The four weeks preceding Christmas are collectively known as advent which begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on December 24. Advent is a Christian season of preparation for the nativity of Christ at Christmas. It is the beginning of the liturgical year in Western Christianity.
Thus, the season of Advent in the Christian calendar anticipates the “coming of Christ” from three different perspectives. The physical nativity in Bethlehem, the reception of Christ in the heart of the believer, and the second coming of Christ.
Practices associated with advent include advent calendars, lighting an advent wreath, and praying an advent daily devotional. Along with a tree, Christmas decorations are sometimes done liturgically through a “hanging of the greens” ceremony.
The Twelve Days of Christmas is the carol in which the singer brags about all the cool gifts they received from their “true love.” Each verse builds on the previous one, serving as an effective way to annoy family members on road trips.
Today’s version begins: “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me a partridge in a pear tree.” The song then adds a gift for each day, building on the previous verse, until reciting all twelve gifts together.
So, the true Twelve Days of Christmas:
One Partridge in a pear tree; The one true God revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.
Two Turtle doves; The Old and New Testaments.
Three French hens; Faith, hope and charity.
Four Calling birds; The four gospels and or the four evangelists.
Five Golden rings; The first five books of the Old Testament, the “Pentateuch” which contain the law condemning sins.
Six Geese a-laying: The six days of creation.
Seven Swans a-swimming; The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Eight Maids a-milking; The eight beatitudes.
Nine Ladies dancing; The nine fruits of the spirit.
Ten Lords a-leaping; The ten commandments.
Eleven Pipers piping: The eleven faithful apostles.
Twelve Drummers drumming; The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed.
It might be worth joining around the supper table singing The Twelve Days of Christmas for the final time this season reflecting the true meaning.


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