Thursday, December 10, 2009

12 Days of Christmas and Two Friends

Two amazing things happened to me today that I have to share. Both have to do with the 12 Days of Christmas.

I was working in my office the other day frantically trying to get jewelry made for an open house I'm hosting in a few weeks. Christmas music was blaring from my computer -- one of the things I LOVE about this season. Eden walked by as The 12 Days of Christmas was being sung in full force by Mitch Miller and the Gang. Eden said "This song is so weird. What in the world does a Partridge in a Pair Tree have to do with Christmas?" I have absolutely no idea" I replied and continued belting out -- "Five Golden Rings!!!!!!!!" Eden rolled his eyes.

Eden is not alone. That question has plagued me for many years .... "What in the heck does that song have to do with Christmas??" I worry about it every year. Today, I received the answer in an email from my wise friend Cheri. I can now put my worry to rest. And, because I'm just sure that Eden and I are not the only ones who are bothered by this, I'm putting your minds to rest too!
Here you go, a little history lesson ... 12 Days of Christmas in a Nutshell.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics.

It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Who knew there was such meaning in this ancient song. I'll never sing it the same way again. Thanks Cheri

But that's not all..... the second thing that happened is a little Christmas miracle. Ever since I posted about making an advent calendar to help my family Keep Christmas, I've been stressed. The days have been ticking by and I've been so busy, I haven't made a thing. We've been doing meaningful things, however, so that's been good. But still, I really wanted to have the Calendar up and running by now so I've been feeling bad. This morning I finally decided I better compromise and do "The 12 Days of Christmas" this year and make the Calendar over the summer when I have more time. I rationalized since today is the 10th, I would have 3 days to get something made. Plenty of time (hah). That being decided, I went off to a class and then to lunch.
When I got home, my friend Kristy knocked on my door holding a beautiful bag. As I let her in, she said "I had to drop this gift off early, it has a deadline." I peered into the bag as I said: " Wow, you are getting stuff done super early this year, did you make me something delicious??" Kristy is an amazing cook. "Nope" she said, just as I had pulled the gift out of the bag. I let out an overly enthusiastic yell "Oh my gosh, how did you know??" In my hand I held 12 beautiful tags with a card that said "The 12 Days of Christmas." Each tag had a scripture, and an idea for something you could do to make Christmas more meaningful. I just couldn't believe it. "Kristy" I exclaimed, "You must have read my recent blog post about keeping Christmas!" Nope Again," she said. "Then your gift is an answer to a prayer." I replied as I tried to hold back the tears; "You gave me the thing I wanted most." She looked a little confused. I told her she had to read my blog and it would explain everything.

Christmas Miracles. They come in unexpected forms -- emails, handmade gifts, friendship, Christmas songs I finally understand. I am thankful for them, great or small.


Aim said...

Oh, I am just a lurker came across you through Nie's blog. But I just had to comment. I love that story. I love girl friends, and the season. This will be a little story to share with your family for years.

Lyndsay said...

That is all so awesome!!

AMCutler said...

Please share some of the activities in your calendar. I love this idea! Ann Marie