Thursday, December 10, 2009

Partridge in a pear tree

Subject: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

There is one Christmas Carol that has always puzzled me. What in the
world do 5 gold rings, 4 calling birds, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge in the pear tree have to do with Christmas? This week, I found out.

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
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.

This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and
enlightening so I wanted to share it with you. Now I know how that strange song became a beloved Christmas Carol.

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone

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