The symbolism of this Christmas classic
has a second, hidden meaning for the ages.
For this song has an ulterior motive,
contained in verses that seem outrageous.
Christ is the truest fulfillment of Love,
in the primary doctrine of Christianity;
therefore, He is the focus of each refrain,
being the sin offering on Crucifixion’s tree.
The pair of turtle doves represents books,
volumes of both the Old and New Testaments.
The Bible embodies the Spirit of God calling…
for the World to turn to Christ and repent.
The three french hens stand for the trinity
of metaphysical concepts: Faith, Hope and Love.
Despite questionable claims, Love requires action-
and that some of us need a gentle, spiritual shove.
Four calling birds correspond to the Good News,
found in accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
Together they present a harmonious view of Christ
and the divine message of the Gospel’s Song.
The five golden rings echo the Jewish Torah,
one of the first accounts of God’s spiritual laws.
Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy
remind of Redemption’s need to offset human flaws.
Six geese a-laying demonstrate the creativity of God,
regarding His work in the archetype days of creation.
For we are to lift up our eyes and see Him, through
inspiration that fuels our desires and imaginations.
The swans a-swimming represent the seven-fold gifts
from the Holy Spirit: Prophesy, Serving, Exhortation,
Teaching, Contribution, Leadership, and God’s Mercy…
holy promises that complement the substance of Salvation.
The eight maids a-milking reflect the Beatitudes,
a message given by Christ at the Sermon on the Mount.
He taught Heavenly concepts, in which we are blessed,
via inspired platitudes for us- to joyfully recount.
Nine ladies dancing recall the Fruits of the Spirit:
Love, Joy, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Self-Control,
Faithfulness, Peace, and Gentleness - sacred constructs
for soothing the pains, experienced by our weary souls.
The lords a-leaping personify Jehovah’s Ten Commandments:
instructions for worshiping only Him, keeping the Sabbath,
and various prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder,
theft, dishonesty, and adultery, which lead us off His path.
The eleven pipers piping constitute the faithful Disciples,
who walked the Earth with Christ, observing Him firsthand.
They were the original, Christian acolytes who were taught-
how to live victoriously under the pressure of Life’s demands.
The drummers drumming symbolize the twelve points of belief,
outlined in the religious doctrine, called the Apostles' Creed.
Now with greater insight, lift your voice and sing this song,
using your faith in God, that you willing and lovingly concede.
This my poetic interpretation of the familiar Christmas song. From 1558ad until 1829ad, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to openly practice their faith. An unknown author, during that era, wrote this carol as a Catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning, originally known only by members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word, implying a religious tenet, which children could easily remember.
Learn more about me and my poetry at:
By Joseph J. Breunig 3rd, © 2013, All rights reserved.
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