A popular religion is deep seeded in the hidden meaning of the holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Did I say a secret meaning? Yes, that is correct! From 1558 to 1829, the Roman Catholics in England could not practice their faith in public because it was a crime. As fate has it, an unknown person, prior to 1780, wrote the popular carol as a catechism song for young children to sing at Christmas. It was encoded to avoid any outsiders from detecting it was written by a Catholic member. As I did some detective work on the ‘hidden meaning,’ I found a few articles which disputed this fact. But Catholic commentaries stand by their story.
Let’s enjoy “The Twelve Days of Christmas” sung by Mitch Miller!
Before I begin breaking down the Catholic’s hidden meaning of this Christmas song, let me pose a question. Just when are the twelve days of Christmas? Is it before Christmas, during Christmas, or after Christmas? What day does it begin? I’ve heard this song since I was a young child but I never thought to ask until now. We will come back to the answer.
Let’s breakdown the song’s hidden meaning….
“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me” Who is the true love? It is Jesus Christ! Love for mankind started on His birth.
“A partridge in a pear tree” The partridge is willing to sacrifice it’s life to protect its own, therefore this represents Jesus.
“On the second day of Christmas my true gave to me – two turtle doves” The two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
“On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me – three French hens” A representation of faith, hope, and love
“On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – four calling birds” The four calling birds are the gospels of the New Testament known as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
“On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – five golden rings” The five rings are the first five books of the Bible called the Book of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy These passages are important for they describe man’s fall into sin and God’s great love in sending His son to save us.
“On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – six geese-a-laying” This represents the six days of God’s creation of the earth.
“On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me – seven swans a-swimming” The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit to build up the church – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Romans 12:6–8, 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Peter 4:11
“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – eight maids a-milking” This is the eight beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10 which describes Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – nine ladies dancing” The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23 Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control
“On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – ten lords a-leaping” A representation of the Ten Commandments
“On the eleventh day of Christmas my true gave to me – eleven pipers piping” This is the eleven faithful Apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas bar James.
The eleven faithful Apostles
“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – twelve drummers drumming” The twelve points of belief in the Apostle’s Creed: Belief in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth Jesus Christ, God’s only Son Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit (Father, Son, and God the Holy Spirit) I believe in the holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints the forgiveness of sins the resurrection of the body life everlasting
Before I conclude this blog, let me reveal the actual timeframe of the twelve days of Christmas. This joyous season is considered sundown on December 24th (Christmas Eve) to sunset on January 5th (the eve of Epiphany). There are many renditions of this glorious song, but for me, the original carol will forever deepen the meaning of Christmas. Let us celebrate Jesus’s birth!
My friends, today, we are warming up the vocal chords and putting on our thinking caps. This is a challenge, of sorts, to discover how well you know Christmas music! Please listen carefully to the three songs below:
Can you label which of these tunes are a Christmas carol, a hymn or a Christmas song? Let’s try to distinguish the differences among these three styles of music and then we’ll check your answers.
Hymns, known as “chordal music” by professional musicians, are interchangeable melodies; they use different lyrics on specific tunes. But, they stand out from other music because they are religious in nature. Most of these formal poems are taken from the Book of Psalms and sung by congregations. Their words give praise, adoration or prayer addressed to God. The main focus is placed on positive and uplifting lyrics, not the music. The first Christmas hymn may be traced to 4th century Rome. It was called, “Jesus Refulsit Omnium” (“Jesus, Light of All the Nations”), written by St. Hilary of Poitier. Listen to this song below:
Carols, a French word meaning “circle dance,” is always accompanied by instruments. Their lyrics can be religious or non-religious, so some carols may also be considered a Christmas song or a hymn. (Are you second-guessing your choice above??) As a standard, Christmas carols are songs of religious topics, such as Jesus or the nativity scene, but without the sacred context. Lyrics tend to harmonize around Christmas themes or the winter season and are normally sung before the holiday. Carols will always celebrate the joy of Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. As a result, wassailers (or Christmas carolers) select them to bring happiness to your home’s doorstep.
The oldest Christmas carol dates to Rome in the 4th century. Listen to this song named, “The Holly and the Ivy”:
For a little trivia, can you guess the most popular Christmas carol ever written? Its age goes all the way back to 1816, and it has a remarkable 733 copyrighted recordings since 1978. If you believe you know the answer, click below to see if you are correct:
The most popular music of the holidays, today, is known as Christmas songs. They are not overtly religious, but instead, they express verses of personal experiences at Christmastime or related things of the holiday. The music is very upbeat and secular in nature.
Once again, let’s play the trivia game! What is the best-selling Christmas/holiday song in the United States, and also the best-selling single of all time, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies worldwide? If you think you know the answer, click below:
Let us review the correct answers for the Christmas music heard at the beginning of this blog:
1) The Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas carol because it sings of the nativity scene with some religious undertones. It definitely celebrates the joy of Christmas and the coming birth of Jesus.
2) Oh, Come All Ye Faithful is a hymn as it gives praise and adoration to the Lord. It has uplifting and joyful verses.
3) It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas is a favorite Christmas song. It relates to all things Christmas with little alluding to religious events.
Now, since we are experts in differentiating a Christmas carol, song, and hymn, let’s turn up the volume on the radio and praise the Lord’s name to your favorite tunes. Regardless of the category the songs belong to, it is time to celebrate Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ! Happy singing!
Please be sure to join us again on Sunday, December 2nd for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!
I’m not racist or blasphemous, as I’d like to believe we are all men of God. That being said, there’s a piece of history I’ve stumbled upon I want to share with you. As the war broke out over Germany, America felt compelled to help by joining forces with the UK. This is common knowledge but what I’d like to share is a little-known history, not readily available. I won’t rewrite the books on WWII, but I want to give credit where credit is due.
As Hitler ensued his killing mission during the Holocaust, Germany showed little mercy for the Jewish people. A good many Jewish community inhabitants went underground to escape his horror. A lot of them were prominent and educated. Most were musically inclined and so thankful for the Christians who fought for them. So, they composed commemorative songs. They were not just any tunes, but Christmas songs, the melodies we grew up with and know, today, by heart.
I will uncover the truth. Jewish conductors wrote and composed the best-known Christmas carols! Let’s show them gratitude and give thanks for they hoped to write lyrics Americans would remember every holiday season. The Jewish composers found these carols uplifting and joyful, in contrast to Hanukkah hymns written in minor keys and more solemn. Christmas songs became a national celebration for all faiths.
Image of Johnny Marks
Image of Livingston and Evans
Image of Irving Berlin
Nearly 50% of our favorite lyrics, today, are the proceeds of a rejoicing Jewish people. Here’s a list of just a few of the Christmas carols and their Jewish composers:
1934, composed by Felix Bernard and Richard B Smith. Made famous by Bing Cosby
1942, composed by Irving Berlin (who also wrote “God Bless America” in 1938)
“Let it Snow”
1945, composed by Jule Styne (Julias Stien) and Sammy Cahnn (Sammy Cohen)
“I’ll Be Home For Christmas”
1943, composed by Walter Kent and Jerry Vale. Made famous by Bing Cosby Little known fact: American songwriter, Buck Ram copyrighted a song with this same title in 1942, though it’s lyrics were completely different than the Christmas song.
“The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)”
1945, composed Mel Torme and Robert “Bob” Wells Fun Fact: This song was written in July in the middle of a desert
“The Little Drummer Boy”
1941, composed by Katherine K. Davis, Henry V. Onorati, Harry Simeone
“Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”
1939, composed by Johnny Marks
“Rockin’ Round the Christmas Tree”
1958, composed by Johnny Marks
“We Need a Little Christmas”
1966, composed by Jerry Herman
1950, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans
“A Holly Jolly Christmas”
1964, composed by Johnny Marks
These songs are just a small sample of how the Jews graciously contributed to the Christian’s Christmas holiday. Today, we need to give a special thanks and remember their heritage comes from a more somber background. The Jewish songwriters greatly deserves our love for the Christmas holiday. My prayers this year is to share this homage. We are all men of God, regardless of our religion.
I challenge you to sit up;
You are lying down
If not sleeping;
Take your responsibility;
Escapism is not allowed;
Face the bull by the horns;
Do your duty;
And nothing but your duty.
You are challenged.
Not sure if I am headed outside to walk today. Might be a treadmill day.
Either way I wanted to share what is on my walking play list.
“Electric Daisy” Lindsey Stirling
“Elements” Lindsey Stirling
“Shadows” Lindsey Stirling
“Shatter Me” Lindsey Stirling
Yes, I like Lindsey Stirling.
“Rx” Theory of A Deadman This would be one of my ironic choices.
“Closing Time” Semisonic This would be the other.
“Believer” Imagine Dragons
“Rise” Katy Perry
“My Favorite Game” Cardigans
“Start A War” Klergy
“Leader of Men” Nickleback
There you have it. If you thing this list is a bit eclectic you should know I have one big YouTube play list with over 300 songs on it. I have other list which include but are not limited to: 30’s Swing/Big Band, K-Pop, Techno and Classical.
My favorite artists include: Nirvana, Frank Sinatra, Queen, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Garth Brookes, Lindsey Stirling, Katy Perry. Big Bang (who I saw in concert), Guns N’ Roses, Baby Metal (who I also saw in concert), Ozzy Osbourne (my first concert-OzFest) and Mozart, Vivaldi and Gershwin.
Some of my favorite songs include, New York, New York, Come As You Are, Gimme Chocolate, No More Tears, Low Places, Rhapsody in Blue, Fat Bottomed Girls and Bicycle Race, and Four Seasons.
Even if I don’t post pictures today I hope I inspire some of you to expand your musical comfort zone.
The big day arrived amid glorious and warm May sunshine. 150,000 happy people began to gather in Windsor to cheer and support Prince Harry and Meghan. It appears that about 2 billion people watched worldwide. The British pageantry, pomp and circumstance was in full view. British, American flags, Canadian maple leaves and handmade bunting decorated the town, houses and businesses. The door of the West Wing of George’s Chapel had an amazing array of white flowers and green foliage, white Roses and Lily of the valley gave a wonderful scent.
Celebrities such as Elton John, Oprah Winfrey, the Beckham’s, the Clooneys, the Cordens, the Suit TV actors and Serena Williams and her husband were among the guests. 200 Charities were represented, altogether 600 guests came to the wedding. The Queen and Prince Philip led the Royal family in this joyous occasion.
The bride and her mother were dignified throughout the magical ceremony. In her spectacular Givenchy creation by Clare Waight Keller she stepped out of the Rolls Royce. The open bateau neckline showed off her shoulders and the cut of the dress accentuated her slim waist. The back of the dress extended to the 15ft train, which was embroidered with the flowers of all the Commonwealth countries. Her ten pageboys and bridesmaids were splendid including the two year-old. Prince Charles walked her down the aisle to Prince Harry who met her with smiles.
There was a difference to this Royal Wedding. The powerful and moving sermon by Bishop Michael Curry on the Power of love, the songs Stand by Me and Amen sung by the Kingdom Choir, the Orchestra with and Cellist Sheku Kanneh- Mason were all outstanding. The vows were sincere and everyone said they will support them in their journey of marriage. A rapturous cheer followed them in their ride through the town to Windsor Castle.
Going to the first of their evening parties, the new Duke drove his wife the Duchess of Sussex in a powder blue E-type Jaguar. Congratulations to the newlyweds.