Well, I have. Therefore you get to find out what I found out. And basically what I found out came in the monthly church bulletin from the church I grew up in. So the source is unknown, unless you count the piece of white paper in the bulletin, then it's known.
As a white piece of paper with words on it...
A Christmas Song Explained
There is one Christmas carol that has always been baffling to me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans and especially the partirdge that won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?
From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrone 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 the members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality that the children could remember.
- The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
- The two turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments.
- The three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.
- The four calling birds were the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and 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.
- The 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.
- The 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 symployized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.
So there you have it. Your history lesson for today.
I was just going to say, "May your Christmas season be filled with the nine ladies dancing," but that sounded kinda dirty. So I'll ixnay that.