Whether or not you were at Saint Louis de Montfort Church to celebrate Christmas and the Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God; hopefully, you and your family took the opportunity to kneel at the crèche of the Holy Family. That is, before the Christmas season is over. “At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend of those in Heaven and on earth and under the earth.” Philippians 2:10.
Christmas is not over, yet! There are actually twelve days of Christmas typically yet, this year there are seventeen! The season begins on Christmas and continues for 12 days to Epiphany ending liturgically on the Baptism of the Lord on January 10, 2016.
A couple of days after Christmas my family and I traveled to the northern suburbs of Chicago only to be greeted by a snow storm of all things! It never felt more like Christmas than it did watching the hustle and bustle of people marching through the snow! It seemed like the perfect opportunity to wish every passerby a Merry Christmas! A man responded in disbelief saying that Christmas was over! I couldn’t help but say, “haven’t you heard of The Twelve Days of Christmas? It has only just begun!” It caught him by surprise.
Few people are aware of the meaning behind the popular Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Each gift is designed to help Catholics learn and grow in their faith (1). The age old Christmas carol dates back to the late 1500’s and goes like this, “On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
➕ My: is every baptized person; true love: is God; Partridge in a pear tree: is Jesus Christ, who died on a tree for our salvation.
➕ Two turtle doves are: Old and New Testaments.
➕ Three French hens are: faith, hope and love (Corinthians 13).
➕ Four calling birds are: the four Gospel writers. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
➕ Five golden rings are: the first five books of the Bible (also called the Pentateuch or the Books of Moses).
➕ Six geese a laying are: the six days of creation (Genesis 1:1-31).
➕ Seven swans a swimming are: the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (Isaiah 11:2-5).
➕ Eight maids a milking are: the eight Beatitudes (Mt 5:1-12).
➕ Nine ladies dancing are: the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
➕ Ten Lord’s a leaping are: the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20).
➕ Eleven pipers piping are: the eleven faithful apostles (Luke 6).
➕ The twelve drummers drumming are: the twelve points of the Apostles Creed.
Christmas commemorates the most momentous event in human history; Jesus Chris as both God and human. It is important to celebrate the 12 (or 17) Days of Christmas as a way of reflecting on what the Incarnation really means in our lives and then by sharing that with others!
Many people came together to help decorate the church for Advent and Christmas. Special thanks goes out to the Saint Louis de Montfort Art & Environment ministry. It took many hands and countless days and hours to assemble a prayerful and peaceful sacred space for God’s holy people. There was so much generosity and pride put into making Saint Louis de Montfort a holy place for Christmas all for the glory of God. Ad majorem dei Gloriam!
Some of the Art & Environment Ministry members.
(1) Ball, Ann. Handbook of Catholic Sacramentals. Our Sunday Visitor. 2005.