The 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 days of Christmas actually refers to the old tradition of celebrating Christmas beginning on Christmas Eve and continuing until January 5th, which is Epiphany.  Because Christmas was outlawed by the government and the church in the Middle-Ages and even through the late 1700s, songs were created with “secret codes” that allowed people to sing about Jesus and teach the Christian faith to their children.  The 12 Days of Christmas is one of those coded songs and below the code is broken.  You’ve probably wondered about all the crazy things in this song and YES there is a meaning behind the words.  I’ve found this is a great thing to share at Christmas parties and with kids and see if people can guess the true meaning. Have fun!

Breaking the Code of the 12 Days of Christmas:

KEY: My true love is code for “God.”

  1. A partridge in a pear tree…  The partridge represents Jesus, the son of God.
  2. Two turtle doves…  The twin birds represent the Old and the New Testament.
  3. Three French hens…  Represent Faith, Hope and Love from 1 Corinthians 13.
  4. Four calling birds…  Mathew, Mark, Luke and John
  5. Five golden rings…  The Pentateuch, the first 5 books of the Old Testament
  6. Six geese a-laying…  The first story in the Bible with each egg representing a day of creation.
  7. Seven swans a-swimming…  The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – prophecy, ministry, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and compassion.
  8. Eight maids a-milking…  A woman who milked was the lowest person in English society.  Jesus came for the lowest as well as the highest.  This represents the 8 people of the beatitudes – the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and the persecuted.
  9. Nine ladies dancing…  The fruit of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
  10. Ten lords a-leaping…  A lord in English culture was a judge of the law.  This represents the Ten Commandments.
  11. Eleven pipers piping…  Almost a trick question…it represents the disciples after the betrayal of Judas.
  12. Twelve drummers drumming…  The 12 points of the Apostles’ Creed.
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