by Rev. Alejandro de la Torre
Pastor for Latino Ministries
12 Days of Christmas
Today is the fourth day of the 12 Days of Christmas, and like you, I have been hearing the classic carol thousands of times; but let me confess something, as limited as I am with my English, I really did not understand a word of this song. So I researched a web site which I considered probably not very accurate but, still interesting: “the religious symbolism of each day of the twelve days of Christmas”:
1 True Love refers to God
2 Turtle Doves refers to the Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens refers to Faith, Hope and Charity, the Theological Virtues
4 Calling Birds refers to the Four Gospels and/or the Four Evangelists
5 Golden Rings refers to the first Five Books of the Old Testament, the "Pentateuch"
6 Geese A-laying refers to the six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming refers to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
8 Maids A-milking refers to the eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing refers to the nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping refers to the ten commandments
11 Pipers Piping refers to the eleven faithful apostles
12 Drummers Drumming refers to the points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed
The fourth day refers to the Four Gospels from which we take our Gospel reading every Sunday. What comes to my mind right now is the way we end the reading of this gospel every Sunday in our worship service, saying: “this is the gospel of hope”. I believe this is because the voice of Jesus that we hear in the gospel truly brings us hope. I know that it is easy to talk of hope in this Christmas Season, but I also know that for many people this is a hard time; a time of melancholy and frustration.
In the midst of distress, weariness and fears, it is a good time to let these words enter into our souls: “this is the great news of hope.” Probably we will automatically repeat them many times as many of us do with the words of the old Christmas carol until perhaps finally we allow their meaning to give significance to our lives. Since we are entering into a season of hope, do not miss the opportunity to express your own hope, to share your hope and to strengthen your hope, especially here with us at The Cathedral… of course… OF HOPE!!!
Oh God of peace, lead me on the paths of hope and never allow me to live under fear and despair, but in the hope and certainty that in your love, I will always have a reason for singing.