Listen to God's voice at the foot of the crucifix." ~St. Gaspar del Bufaro~

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Is Not Over!

Baby Jesus is in the manger, gifts are opened and the house is finally cleaned up but "Hallelujah", Christmas isn't over!  We don't touch our decorations until after the 12th day of Christmas, the Epiphany.  I just love the 12 days of the Christmas Season so I can finally breathe a little easier and enjoy.  The schedule is still a little lighter, a long with money in the bank,  so there's certainly more  time around the house to listen to Christmas music, reflect on our Advent journeys and focus a little more on the Christmas story.   

It is said that the Twelve Days of Christmas song 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).  One article I found suggests that the song was written by English Jesuits during the 16th century.
You can also read more about the meaning behind the song at Catholic Culture and Our Sunday Visitor.

I just love the symbolism and meaning to share with my children as we enjoy the
12 Days of Christmas this week.
We are reading this book with beautiful illustrations from the traditional song.
Then we are comparing the book and traditional song with the real meaning that I have compiled below here from what I have read and added my own images.
The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a Catechism Song

Gift Interpretation:
The "12 Days of Christmas" song gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God Himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ, the Son of God. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge which feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, much in memory of the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered thee under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but thou wouldst not have it so..."
December 25: A Partridge in a pear tree …….. Jesus.
December 26: Two Turtle Doves …….. The Old and New Testaments.
December 27: Three French Hens ……. The three theological virtues – faith, hope and charity.

December 28: Four Calling Birds ……. The four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists:
 ~Matthew, Mark, Luke and John~
December 29: Five Gold Rings …… The Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, giving the history of man's fall from grace.
December 30: Six Geese a-Laying …. The six days of Creation.
December 31: Seven Swans a-Swimming ….. Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (piety, fortitude, knowledge, understanding, counsel, fear of the Lord, wisdom). Also it can help us remember the seven Sacraments: Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Matrimony, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick.

January 1: Eight Maids a-Milking …… The Eight Beatitudes – a set of eight blessings contained in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Four beatitudes also appear in the Sermon on the Plain in the Gospel of Luke, where they are contrasted with four woes.

January 2: Nine Ladies Dancing ……. Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit - But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. – Galatians 5:22-31.

January 3: Ten Lords a-Leaping…… The Ten Commandments.

January 4: Eleven Pipers Piping….. The eleven faithful Apostles.
January 5: Twelve Drummers Drumming …… The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed.
From the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, ca. 1440. The border shows the legend of the composition of the Apostles' Creed, according to which the Twelve, before dispersing thoughout the world to preach the Gospel, composed the Creed as a sure rule of the Faith, each of them contributing one of the twelve articles. In the center is depicted the legend of the Ten Thousand Martyrs, represented here symbolically by only ten figures.
"Regardless of whether this tale is made up of both fact and fiction, hopefully it will be accepted in the spirit it was written. As an encouragement to people to keep their faith alive, when it is easy, and when any outward expressions of their faith could mean their life. Today there are still people living under similar conditions, may this tale give them courage, and determination to use any creative means at their disposal to keep their faith alive."
~Fr. Hal Stockert~


  1. I always feel badly for people who think Christmas is over on Christmas day. These are the best days! Merry Christmas, Tiffany.

  2. It's nice to see the floor again, isn't it? I always found it sad when people had their trees down on Christmas night or the days immediately following. I keep our decorations up until New Year's. I like to hit the books after break knowing my work space is cleaned up. Big plans for New Year's?

  3. I do so love this interpretation of the meaning of the Twelve Days of Christmas song. ((and I don't think it's made up)). Flower is learning the song: "two turtle ducks" and a "par-trig in a pear tree." we have this book and the stained glass coloring book that goes with it. and will enjoy coloring the days. your parish altar looks lovely! today we're making a baby jesus cake, and are enjoying these 12 days of Christmas.

  4. very nice visual. i look forward to sharing with my GFG.

    Pax Christi - Lena

  5. I always learn something new when I come and visit your blog! I had no idea that this song had hidden meanings to our faith. Thank you for sharing!!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...