My research into the meaning of the song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” has taken me places I didn’t expect. Last week we covered days one through five; this week we examine all of the rest and it turns out it’s a peek into church doctrine and history.
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me six geese a-laying. Eggs traditionally symbolize new life and the geese are to remind us of the six days of creation described in Genesis. Take a look at the creation story and observe the pleasure it brought God.
On the seventh day of Christ-mas my true love gave to me seven swans a swimming. Graceful swans are to remind us of the seven gifts of grace, all important and all portioned out to us by the Holy Spirit, who actively works in these modern times. The gifts are listed in Romans 12. Take a few minutes to look over this list and identify one that naturally fits the way you most enjoy interacting with people.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me eight maids a-milking. Milkmaids, reminding us of humble servanthood, represent the eight Beatitudes (blessings), listed in the book of Matthew. Choose one and bless someone in your life this holiday season.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing. The nine ladies dancing represent the Fruit of the Spirit, listed in the book of Galatians. I’m choosing to practice patience this week. Remember, you are modeling one of God’s traits to those around you. It’ll be challenging!
On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 10 lords a-leaping. During the Middle Ages, lords could to some extent define the law within the boundaries of their own land. Here the lords are intended to remind us of the 10 Commandments, found in chapter 20 of the book of Exodus. You might enjoy introducing your family to a new game this season and talk about the importance of rules. They help bring sanity and order to our lives.
On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 11 pipers piping. The 11 pipers remind us of Jesus’ disciples who remained faithful, even during extreme hardship and personal danger. Decorating cookies this Christmas might be a great time for gentle conversation intended to can help your family members identify ways to show faithfulness. It might be as simple as being happy for others who get cool gifts or being patient when people come to visit and change routines.
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me 12 drummers drumming. Drummers establish the rhythm when marching and these drummers symbolize the 12 doctrines listed in the Apostles’ Creed, an ancient summary of Christian beliefs. Google it and see what the creed is all about.
Most of all, surround yourself with beautiful Christmas music this holiday season. It’ll help your own spirit soar and bring amazing sweetness and calm to your surroundings.