A Pieceful Life

A Pieceful Life

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I'm so glad that you stopped by, and hope that you enjoy your visit. Here you will find pieces of my life - quilting, cross-stitch, family, travel, friends.
My name is Peg - I am a 60ish wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, friend - and if we're not already related or friends, hope to become your friend too.
We live in the eastern end of the beautiful Fraser Valley, about 1.5 hours east of Vancouver, BC. Empty nesters, we have one son living just a few minutes away, our other son and daughter live in Alberta.
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Thursday, December 26, 2013

The 12 Days of Christmas

Who of us hasn’t heard and/or sang the song of the 12 Days of Christmas?  It’s one of those traditional songs and is heard throughout the season.

I was given a jigsaw puzzle of the 12 Days of Christmas for my birthday, and finished it a little before Christmas:

001

As I looked at the symbols on the picture, I recalled once being told there was Christian symbolism to the song, so I did a search.  Yes, symbolism has been applied to the song, but whether or not the origins lie in the symbolism, or the symbolism followed the creation of the song is unclear.  Nonetheless, I enjoyed reading about this, and wanted to share it:

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 1, Christmas Day, December 25 A Partridge in a Pear Tree
The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, whose birthday we celebrate on December 25, the first day of Christmas. In the song, Christ is symbolically presented as a mother partridge that feigns injury to decoy predators from her helpless nestlings, recalling the expression of Christ's sadness over the fate of Jerusalem: "Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so . . . ." (Luke 13:34)


On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 2, December 26 Two Turtle Doves
The Old and New Testaments, which together bear witness to God's self-revelation in history and the creation of a people to tell the Story of God to the world.


On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 3, December 27 Three French Hens
The Three Theological Virtues: 1) Faith, 2) Hope, and 3) Love (1 Corinthians 13:13)


On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 4, December 28 Four Calling Birds
The Four Gospels: 1) Matthew, 2) Mark, 3) Luke, and 4) John, which proclaim the Good News of God's reconciliation of the world to Himself in Jesus Christ.


On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 5, December 29 Five Gold Rings
The first Five Books of the Old Testament, known as the Torah or the Pentateuch: 1) Genesis, 2) Exodus, 3) Leviticus, 4) Numbers, and 5) Deuteronomy, which gives the history of humanity's sinful failure and God's response of grace in the creation of a people to be a light to the world.


On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 6, December 30 Six Geese A-laying
The six days of creation that confesses God as Creator and Sustainer of the world (Genesis 1).

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 7, December 31 Seven Swans A-swimming
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: 1) prophecy, 2) ministry, 3) teaching, 4) exhortation, 5) giving, 6) leading, and 7) compassion (Romans 12:6-8; cf. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11)


On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 8, January 1 Eight Maids A-milking
The eight Beatitudes: 1) Blessed are the poor in spirit, 2) those who mourn, 3) the meek, 4) those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 5) the merciful, 6) the pure in heart, 7) the peacemakers, 8) those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake. (Matthew 5:3-10)


On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 9, January 2 Nine Ladies Dancing
The nine Fruit of the Holy Spirit: 1) love, 2) joy, 3) peace, 4) patience, 5) kindness,
6) generosity, 7) faithfulness, 8) gentleness, and 9) self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23)


On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 10, January 3 Ten Lords A-leaping
The ten commandments: 1) You shall have no other gods before me; 2) Do not make an idol; 3) Do not take God's name in vain; 4) Remember the Sabbath Day; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder; 7) Do not commit adultery; 8) Do not steal; 9) Do not bear false witness; 10) Do not covet. (Exodus 20:1-17)


On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 11, January 4 Eleven Pipers Piping
The eleven Faithful Apostles: 1) Simon Peter, 2) Andrew, 3) James, 4) John, 5) Philip, 6) Bartholomew, 7) Matthew, 8) Thomas, 9) James bar Alphaeus, 10) Simon the Zealot, 11) Judas bar James. (Luke 6:14-16). The list does not include the twelfth disciple, Judas Iscariot who betrayed Jesus to the religious leaders and the Romans.


On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Day 12, January 5 Twelve Drummers Drumming
The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles' Creed: 1) I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth. 2) I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 3) He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 4) He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell [the grave]. 5) On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 6) He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 7) I believe in the Holy Spirit, 8) the holy catholic Church, 9) the communion of saints, 10) the forgiveness of sins, 11) the resurrection of the body, 12) and life everlasting.

Now that Christmas is over, the gifts have all been given and opened, and the turkey leftovers are being eaten, we won’t be hearing this song again.  But the 12 Days of Christmas only begin on December 26, ending on January 6 which is the day we celebrate the arrival of the Magi to honor the birth of the long-awaited Messiah.  In our home, the Christmas tree stays standing until January 6, one of the traditions of Grizz’ mother’s family and her church up-bringing that we still keep.  And we remember the season of giving, the reason for the celebrations, the love of God in sending His Son, the gift that lasts all year!

Happy 12 Days of Christmas!        Blessings, Peg

4 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing Peg! We too keep our tree up until January 6th.

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  2. Well amen to that! Have a lovely new Year. Several years back I sent a big box to my mom in law containing 12 gifts--one for her to open each day. It was fun for her ; )

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  3. I too wonder if the symbolism was the basis for the song or if it was devised afterwards ... either way, it's definitely interesting, isn't it?

    I'm glad we have an artificial tree now so it can stay up longer.

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  4. Well done Peg, while I'm not a practicing Christian, this is a poignant reminder of spiritual matters around our celebrations leading up to Dec 25th and the birth of Jesus and all the other marketing of Christmas. This post is a good promotion of faith. Thank you!

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