It seems to be a rather odd song, doesn’t it? What could assorted birds, maids ‘a-milking,’ drummers and dancers have to do with Christmas? You might be surprised. Before we start exploring the story, though, why not download a free coloring book to go with it at the DLTK site? Then listen to the song as you read along:
This Christmas carol was published in England in the early 1800s but is believed to be of French origin. While there is some dispute about the symbolism intended in the carol, several believe that it was a tool for Christians to memorize and share their faith. Examining the gifts of each day provides a foundation to understand the awesome generosity of our God…and the abundance in the Christian faith.
If you really don’t enjoy reading but want to know the story, I recorded a video to tell the story but below you will find the story and the Scripture references to deepen your study. Traditions and history confound things a bit, so you may find those who celebrate the 12 Days before Christmas. Most, though, consider Christmas Day the First day (honoring the birth of Christ) and January 5th (Epiphany) the 12th Day (which celebrates the Gifts of the Magi). But tradition and religion are not the essence of our faith…this song gives us some unchanging Truth to feast upon. Let’s go!
FIRST DAY Jesus Christ Luke 1:35 & 1 John 4:9
The celebration begins with the arrival of the Messiah! God with us, Immanuel!
SECOND DAY Old & New Testament John 20:31
Jesus is the Word in living, human form. The Scriptures, old & new, speak of Him.
THIRD DAY Faith, Hope & Love 1 Corinthians 13:13
Paul said, ‘…these three remain…and the greatest of these is love.’ The heart of the Word is revealed in the three french hens.
FOURTH DAY Gospels Matt., Mark, Luke & John
The good news that God continues to seek us…and will do whatever it takes to allow us to choose to be connected with Him is a priceless gift.
FIFTH DAY Books of Moses/Law Genesis – Deuteronomy
Those books of the Law are not dry in any sense. Though Christians do not live under the Law, we live IN IT – for Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of the Law.
SIXTH DAY Six Days of Creation Genesis 1
Everything was created by God…and entrusted to humanity, His crowning creation. Made in His image with purposes grander than we conceive!
SEVENTH DAY Perfect Gifts
The gifts of the 7th Day exceed our ability to explore them in this lifetime. Praise Him for the very first one: eternal covenant! He is the beginning and the end and everything in between! ENJOY HIM.
Everlasting Covenant – Isaiah 56:4-5
Spiritual Knowledge – Jeremiah 24:7
New Heart – Ezekiel 11:19
Spiritual Rest – Matthew 11:28
Holy Spirit – Luke 11:13
Eternal Life – John 10:28
Spiritual Crowns – Revelation 2:10
EIGHTH DAY Beatitudes Matthew 5:3-10
The Beatitudes reveal Kingdom Life–which is pretty much opposite of what we typically experience. We are to be in the world but not of it so that others can see a distinction. The beatitudes create a beautiful life.
Humility – Matthew 5:3
Repentance – Matthew 5:4
Meekness – Matthew 5:5
Spiritual Hunger – Matthew 5:6
Mercy – Matthew 5:7
Pure Hearts – Matthew 5:8
Peacemaking – Matthew 5:9
Suffering for Christ – Matthew 5:10
NINTH DAY Fruit of the Spirit Galatians 5:22-23
This fruit is singular; it is HIS fruit, not ours. The flavor of our life will be rich and sweet when He is its essence: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness & self-control. This is not a list to achieve but a spirit to receive.
TENTH DAY Ten Commandments Exodus 20:1-17
The commandments are all about relationship…first with the Father, then with others.
ELEVENTH DAY Faithful Disciples Matthew 10:2
We know there were 12; we want to be counted among the faithful. Judas chose his own way and it was the way of death.
TWELFTH DAY Apostles Creed
1. I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:
2. And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:
3. Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:
4. Suffered under Pontius Pilate; was crucified, dead and buried: He descended into hell:
5. The third day he rose again from the dead:
6. He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:
7. From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:
8. I believe in the Holy Ghost:
9. I believe in the holy catholic church: the communion of saints:
10. The forgiveness of sins:
1l. The resurrection of the body:
12. And the life everlasting. Amen.
PHEW! Who knew? Are you astounded by the richness of that carol?
Be blessed and have a Merry Christmas.