Thursday, December 13, 2012

So what you're saying is, I don't get a present?

I noticed this email that Amy Jo had printed out sitting on our counter. It contains the origins of the Twelve Days of Christmas and I thought I'd write about it. Apparently, between 1588-1829 Roman Catholics couldn't openly practice their faith in England. The song was written as a code for kids to learn about the Jesus and whatnot. Personally, I found the original lyrics hard enough to remember much less a second set of hidden meanings.

  • Partridge in a Pear Tree: Jesus Christ [Superstar]
  • 2 Turtle Doves: Old & New Testaments
  • 3 French Hens: Faith, hope, and love
  • 4 Calling Birds: The 4 Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)
  • 5 Golden Rings: The Torah (the first 5 books of the Old Testament)
  • 6 Geese a-Laying: The 6 days of creation
  • 7 Swans a-Swimming: The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit (prophesy, serving, teaching, exhortation, contribution, leadership, and mercy). Let's talk about me not even knowing this was a thing.
  • 8 Maids a-Milking: The 8 beatitudes (I had to look up what a beatitude was, but apparently it's all those "blessed are the so-and-so's" things)
  • 9 Ladies Dancing: The 9 Fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control)
  • 10 Lords a-Leaping: The 10 Commandments
  • 11 Pipers Piping: The 11 faithful disciples (in your face, Judas!)
  • 12 Drummers Drumming: The 12 points of belief in the Apostles' Creed (I don't know what that is)
So I guess the song is cool or whatever, but I don't really understand how this teaches you anything about religion. It mostly just teaches you how many of each thing there are, but hey I'm not here to judge.

I've always thought the song was about a guy who gave his lady the weirdest possible Christmas gifts; I suppose it's cool to find out that there's a hidden meaning. I would've been irritated if someone sang this song to me and then I found out that weren't actually getting me anything. Weird and impractical or not, a present is a present.

I can envision 1600s Erin responding to this song, "Hold up. You mean to tell me I don't get any of those things? All you're doing is telling me about Jesus?! Dude, I already know about Jesus*. What I'd like to know about is why you didn't get me any presents. That's shady. You know what? I'ma go hook up with those pilgrims and get up outta this country. Thanks for the weird song about birds and stuff. Bye."

*One of the new things I learned about Jesus came about yesterday as I listened to a second grade boy explain to the other students at his table, "You guys don't know anything about Jesus. You know he died, right? He died for us. He jumped out of a helicopter."

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