It should be of no surprise that the “true love” we have is our Creator who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:16-17).
There is no concrete evidence that Biblical symbolism was the intention of the writer of this song, but it does follow the 12 days of Christmas that are celebrated until the Day of Kings on January 6th, and it does allow us to the opportunity to consider all that God has done for us.
“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.”
Jesus is our partridge in a pear tree. In Luke 13:34, Jesus proclaims, “Jerusalem! Jerusalem! How often would I have sheltered you under my wings, as a hen does her chicks, but you would not have it so…” As a mother partridge is willing to decoy predators from her young, so Christ has embraced suffering to death for our sake. Truly a great gift from our True Love!
“On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me two turtle doves.”
Most of us know that the Bible is broken into two sections—the Old Testament and the New Testament, but perhaps too many think that they are independent or that one is more important than the other.
The Old Testament is a love story that reveals how much our Creator loves us and desires us to know peace through Him. The New Testament is the fulfillment of God’s promises to us through Jesus Christ. They both say the same thing: that God loves us and is relentless in His pursuit to bring us love, joy, peace and hope. The “two turtle doves” are the gift of God’s story to mankind.
“On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me three French hens.”
In 1 Thessalonians 1:3, Paul writes, “We continually remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The three theological virtues are Faith, Hope and Love. By faith we work to share Christ with the world. It is with hope that we continue when everyone else gives up.
And it is with a love for our neighbors—that can only come from God—that we are driven to lay down our lives for the sake of others. Many things will perish over time, but these three remain faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love (1 Corinthians 13:13).
“On the fourth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me four calling birds.”
While the entirety of the Bible speaks of Jesus, the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are dedicated to the incarnate life of Jesus Christ. They share His love for the world, His status as God, His word as truth, His grace as the only means of salvation, and His passion for the world He created. The four gospels are truly the “calling birds” that sing a song of hope, peace, joy and love through Jesus the only begotten Son of God.
“On the fifth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me five golden rings.”
The five books of the Torah are the first five books found in the Old Testament.
The books of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy reveal not only how man fell from God and his struggle ever since, but also the relentless love of the Creator who prepared a way for salvation for all who would receive it. These “five golden rings” are a light in a dark world.
“On the 6th day of Christmas, my true love gave to mesix geese a-laying.”
Genesis 1:1-2 tells us that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters”
The “six geese a-laying” remind us that the world was full of chaos until the Spirit of God hovered over it. Then, in six days, God brought light where there was darkness, order where there was chaos, life where there was nothing.
He is the Creator of all and by His grace He offers to bring light, life and order to all who would receive it.The “six geese a-laying” are the gift of life through the presence of the Creator.
“On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me sevenswans a swimming.”
The Catholic Church listed seven gifts of the Holy Spirit from Isaiah 11:1-3, they are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. Paul also lists seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in Romans 12:6-8, they are: Prophecy, serving, teaching, exhortation, giving, leadership and compassion.
There are other places and other gifts listed in the Scriptures, but they all serve the same purpose—to build others up so that they might come to know Jesus Christ.
Like the seven swans a swimming given by the true love, the gifts of the Holy Spirit are just that, gifts. They cannot be taught nor self-manifested, but must be received through the grace and love of God; they are beautiful and to be treated with care and reverence.
“On the eighth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me eight maids a milking.”
In His sermon on the mount, Jesus shared eight beatitudes with the people. “Blessed” He said are those who are poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, those who are merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers and also those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.
We have all felt times of poverty and need in one way or another; and yet we all have the ability to do what is right for our fellow man. The “eight maids a milking” remind us that what we need for fulfillment is being prepared through Jesus Christ.
“On the ninth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me nine ladies dancing.”
In Galatians 5, Paul names nine fruit of the Spirit. They are: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
The “nine ladies dancing” must stay in step with the music to which they dance so that their work may be one of beauty. After naming the nine fruit, Paul says, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”
The fruit of the Spirit will only truly be seen in our lives when we are “in step” with the Spirit. Let us dance with our True Love.
“On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 10 lords a leaping.”
There is hardly a greater reason to leap in celebration than to receive instruction that leads to fuller life of peace, hope, joy and love. When God gave the Ten Commandments to the Israelites through His servant Moses, they may not have fully grasped the gift that it was. It begins with commands concerning our relationship with God and then those pertaining to how we treat others. The “10 lords a leaping” remind us of some of the most basic principles we are to live by so that we can truly love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; and love our neighbor as ourselves.
“On the 11th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 11 pipers piping.”
In John 17, Jesus prayed for the 11 faithful apostles just before He was arrested. He prayed that the Father would protect them and sanctify them so that they might share his gospel message with the world. These 11 “pipers” piped in faith and brought many to believe in Jesus Christ and the message of salvation.
These eleven made disciples that made disciples that made disciples that continued piping this song of life so that every believer today—and every believer to come—is the result of the first 11 “pipers piping.”
May that tradition never end.
“On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me 12 drummers drumming.”
There were 12 tribes of Israel created from the sons of Jacob. The tribes shared blood, but were as different from each other as the founding brothers were. They found that only when they relied upon God were they able to work together for a common purpose.
Please come join us at La Vista Church as we fix our eyes on Jesus. We meet Sundays at 9 a.m. for Sunday school and 10 a.m. for worship. Everyone is welcome!