Friday, December 13, 2013

Reviewing Catechism with "The Twelve Days of Christmas"

I love this book, mostly because of its beautiful, whimsical illustrations, and because it's a board book--able to withstand all sorts of rough and tumble from toddlers!  We read part of The Twelve Days of Christmas today, which celebrates the Christmas season (from Christmas day to the Feast of the Epiphany).  While there's some disagreement about the background and meanings involved with "The Twelve Days," it's still a useful teaching tool.

I enjoy introducing this combination of art, poetry and song to children early so that each year they will learn just a little more about the hidden meaning of it.  The youngest children in the Atrium will not have heard of many of the teachings I'll list below, but the older children will recognize many.

The Symbols of The Twelve Days of Christmas

  • True love = God
  • Pear tree = The cross
  • 1 Partridge = Jesus (as a mother partridge who protects her young)
  • 2 Turtle Doves = the 2 natures of Jesus (human and divine) or the 2 Testaments (Old and New)
  • 3 French Hens = the 3 persons of God (the Trinity) or the 3 gifts of the Wise Men or 3 Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity
  • 4 Colly Birds = the 4 Gospels or the 4 Evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John)
  • 5 Gold Rings = the first 5 books of the Old Testament (the Pentateuch, on man's fall)
  • 6 Geese a Laying = the 6 Precepts of the Church or the 6 days of Creation
  • 7 Swans a Swimming = the 7 sacraments or 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit (Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord)
  • 8 Maids a Milking = the 8 Beatitudes
  • 9 Drummers Drumming = 9 choirs of angels
  • 10 Ladies Dancing = the 10 Commandments
  • 11 Pipers Piping = the 11 Apostles (12 minus Judas)
  • 12 Lords a Leaping = the 12 basic beliefs of the Catholic Church (from the Apostles' Creed)

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