Living and Giving

Why Nine Women Matter in the 12 Days of Christmas

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From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly.  During that era, someone 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.

One of my favorites is the significance of the Nine Ladies (for today, the ninth day).  They represent the fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

No matter what our beliefs, we can all agree on the need for more Gentleness, Joy and Goodness.  Let those \”Nine Ladies\” be our code for inspiration as we strive to live the qualities they represent.


The Twelve Days of Christmas

\’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.