Friday, December 11, 2009

A Partridge in a Pear Tree

One of my oldest and dearest friends sent this to me and I felt compelled to share it with you readers as well as best wishes for a Merry Christmas.

“There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of 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 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.

So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol.'

Merry (Twelve Days of) Christmas Everyone”

In His abiding love,

Cecil Moon

1 comment:

Donald Borsch Jr. said...

Mr. Cecil,

I took the liberty of posting this on The Admonition. You have all the credit for it, of course!

Maybe this will inspire others to remember that Christmas is really all about Jesus.

Here's link:

Thanks for being you, sir!