Saturday, January 07, 2012

epiphany - thankful #10

over the years, our family has made it a practice to try to observe advent -- an anticipation of the coming of Jesus for the weeks of the four sundays before christmas. it's been helpful, though it can feel a bit rushed in the midst of a usually high-demand season.

but this year, our family also elected to celebrate the twelve days of christmas. starting on christmas day and continuing until epiphany, we began meeting in the evenings to worship together by singing christmas hymns and sharing our reflections on the reputed-symbolism (challenged by some as an urban legend) of the song, "the twelve days of christmas," to wit:

  • the partridge in a pear tree is Jesus.
  • the two turtledoves are the old and new testaments.
  • the three french hens are the three theological virtues -- faith, hope, and love.
  • the four calling birds are the four gospels (that one worked out particularly nicely, i think).
  • the give golden rings are the five books of the pentateuch (comprising the five books of moses, genesis through deuteronomy).
  • the six geese-a-laying are the six days of creation.
  • the seven swans-a-swimming are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (romans 12:6-8?).
  • the eight maids-a-milking are the eight beatitudes.
  • the nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the Spirit.
  • the ten lords-a-leaping are the ten commandments.
  • the eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful disciples.
  • and the twelve drummers drumming are the twelve points of the apostles' creed.

it was a revelation (pun intended). it felt so much more relaxed during that less hurried time after christmas, and it was such a joy to able to worship together as a family (a rare privilege now that the girls live out of state) and to sing christmas carols more than one or two days a year. i especially enjoy that our daughters love to worship as a family and to do it in multiple languages -- this year in english, french, and spanish!

those twelve days together praising God were a huge, memorable gift, for which i thank him.


Unknown said...

Thanks for this post, Barry. I always wondered what this song was about.

Juliette said...

Oops, that last comment was from Juliette