The 12 Days of Christmas
Do you know this song? Do you like it? Well, I know it but I never really cared for it. That is, until I heard about the meaning behind it. Let me share this with you.
Legend has it that some parents had a creative idea to help their children learn about God. The story tells us that they got together and wrote this very song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, and used a secret code hidden in the song to teach their children about God and the Bible. It goes like this:
“My true love” represents God, who gives all the gifts listed in the song.
“A partridge in a pear tree” is Jesus, who gave His life on the cross (a tree)
“Two turtle doves” represent the Old and New Testaments.
“Three French hens” are faith, hope and love.
“Four calling birds” represent the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
“Five golden rings” represent the first five books of the Bible ( the Pentateuch).
“Six geese a-laying” represent the six days of creation.
“Seven swans a-swimming” represent the seven gifts of the Spirit found in
“Eight maids a-milking” refers to the eight beatitudes found in Matthew 5:3-10.
“Nine ladies dancing" refers to the nine fruits of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23.
“Ten lords a-leaping” stand for the Ten Commandments.
“Eleven pipers piping” are the eleven faithful disciples.
“Twelve drummers drumming” remind us of the twelve points of the Apostle’s Creed.
When my husband and I read about this legend and an accompanying game, we decided to make some*of the games. There are two ways to play – one for smaller children or for those who have not played before, the other is for older children or adults, or those who have already mastered the first part. This game is played like “Concentration” but has 3 sets of cards.
Children and Beginners: The first set of cards are numbered 1-12, one number on each card. The second set of cards have the names of the gifts given on each day in the song, i.e, partridge in a pear tree; turtle doves; French hens, etc. (without numbers). The cards are turned over and mixed up and then each player takes a turn, turning over two cards to see if the number and the gifts given on that day match up. If they don't, you turn them back over and the next player takes a turn.
Older children, adults, experienced players: You use the second set of cards again (with the gifts written on them) partridge in a pear tree, turtle doves, French hens, etc.and the third set of cards. This third set has the meanings written on them: Jesus, the Old and New Testaments, faith/hope/love, etc. These are mixed up and turned over and each player takes a turn, turning two cards over to see if the gifts and the meanings match up. As you play the game, you learn the meanings, and have lots of fun as well! Enjoy.
*These games are available and may be ordered by emailing me at jtseiter. These are $5.50 per set. Limited number available.@comcast.net