“The Twelve Days of Christmas” is a popular Christmas song. In the sixteenth century, the religious wars in England made it dangerous to be a Christian. The well-known song was used to teach children about the Catholic Church. Although the lyrics may sound like nonsense, the song actually contains hidden references:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree: Jesus
Two Turtle Doves: The Old and New Testaments
Three French Hens: The Three Theological Virtues: Faith, Hope, and Love
Four Calling Birds: The Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John
Five Golden Rings: The First Five Books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
Six Geese A-Laying: The Six Days of Creation
Seven Swans A-Swimming: The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, and Fear of the Lord
Eight Maids A-Milking: The Eight Beatitudes; #1 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. #2 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. #3 Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. #4 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. #5 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. #6 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. #7 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God. #8 Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Nine Ladies Dancing: The Nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control
Ten Lords A-Leaping: The Ten Commandments; #1 I am the Lord your God: You shall not have strange gods before me. #2 You shall not take the name of the Lord God in vain. #3 Remember to keep holy the Lord’s day. #4 Honor your father and your mother. #5 You shall not kill. #6 You shall not commit adultery. #7 You shall not steal. #8 You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. #9 You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife. #10 You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
Eleven Pipers Piping: The Eleven Faithful Apostles: Peter, Andrew, James the Elder, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James the Younger, Simon, and Jude
Twelve Drummers Drumming: The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed; #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. He descended into hell. #5 On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. #6 He will come again to judge the living and the dead. #7 I believe in the Holy Spirit, #8 the holy catholic Church, #9 the communion of saints, #10 the forgiveness of sins, #11 the resurrection of the body, #12 and life everlasting. Amen.