The Good Newsletter


Pastor Lisa's Letter January 2018

Hidden Meanings


There’s a fascinating old urban legend about the origins of the song “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”  According to the legend, the song is not about two lovers and the gifts they exchange for Christmas.  Instead, the song is about the life ministry of Jesus. 

According to James Moore, the legend says that the song was written during a time of persecution of Christians to help children learn about their Christian faith.  The Christians were not allowed to openly practice their faith, so the song was designed to have two meanings:  A surface meaning about Christmas gifts and a hidden meaning known only to the Christians.  Here are the hidden meanings:

1.  A Partridge in a Pear Tree:  Christ’s death on the cross

2.  Two Turtle Doves:  The Old and New Testaments

3.  Three French Hens:  Faith, hope, and love

4.  Four Calling Birds:  The 4 Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

5.  Five Golden Rings:  The Torah – the first 5 books of the Bible

6.  Six Geese a-Laying:  The 6 days of Creation

7.  Seven Swans a-Swimming:  The 7 gifts from the Holy Spirit

8.  Eight Maids a-Milking:  The 8 Beatitudes

9.  Nine Ladies Dancing:  The 9 fruits of the Spirit

10.  Ten Lords a-Leaping:  The 10 Commandments

11. Eleven Pipers Piping:  The 11 faithful disciples

12.  Twelve Drummers Drumming:  The 12 core beliefs of the Apostles’ Creed

Who knows if the urban legend is true or not, but it does raise an interesting point.  The Story of Christmas did not end on Christmas Day.  The Story of Christmas began on Christmas Day.  As we begin 2018, may the hidden meanings of Christmas become clear to us as we celebrate the Light of Epiphany!

Let the Light of Epiphany Shine!


Rev. Lisa Maddox

James Moore (2015).  Finding Bethlehem in the Midst of Bedlam:  An Advent Study for Adults.  Nashville:  Abingdon Press, Afterword.



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