I woke up at 7:32 a.m singing “…a parrrrrtridge in a pear tree…”. I have no idea why. And much like the hiccups, the song kept creeping back all day long. Catchy little bugger. Songwriting 101: create a memorable melody. Check.

At 3:07 I snapped (partridge overload) and Googled ‘partridge.’ I was curious to see what the little critters look like. Can’t say I’ve seen one in person nor in picture. Voila, a normal bird, except cuter than what I was expecting.

At 3:09 I Googled ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ to see what I might discover about this catchy-critter-hum-alongable song

At 3:10 this entry was born.

To be honest, I have always found this song to be annoying. No disrespect to Frederic Austin, but I just find it rather… blah. There’s not much syncopation, there’s definitely no dissonance, and the lyrics are… well…they’re rather repetitive (stating the obvious I know). In my everyday life I hear “Mommy, mommy, mommy, MOMMY!!!!!” 50 million times a day, so to ALSO have “and a parrrrtridge in a pear tree” floating through my brain at the same time… well, I don’t think it’s hard to see why I’d find it a tad irritating. Not exactly a welcomed way to start the day. But looking back, I’m actually rather grateful for the little partridge – I learned something today.

And here’s what…

The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning Christmas Day running through till January 6th. Huh!? I did not know this. I truly thought the 12 days of Christmas led UP to the 25th. How behind am I? But as I spent a few hours reading, searching and learning, it actually now makes total sense that the first day of Christmas would be the day that Jesus was born. Like, duh!

I also discovered…

“The Twelve Days of Christmas,” while French in origin, is an English Christmas carol that represents a series of gifts given on each of the twelve days of Christmas. Again I say, huh!? I did not know this either! How pumped do you think kids would be to learn of this? – I’m sooooo not telling my children…

While no one really knows the true meaning of these 12 gifts – cause obviously you’re not going to buy someone 12 drummers drumming – suggestions have been made that the gifts have significance representing food, sports, weather and indoctrination.

Wait. Indoctrination. Interesting….

Folklore claims that the song’s lyrics were written to help young Catholics learn their faith during a time when practicing Catholicism was criminalized in England. While there is no strong evidence to support this claim, or none that I could find, I have to wonder: Is it really so bad to believe that the ‘true love’ they refer to in the song is God Himself? That the ‘partridge’ is Jesus? And the ‘me’ who receives the gift is actually referring to every believer, a.k.a, Cindy? I don’t see Mr. Austin’s songwriting book lying around anywhere to confirm the deeper meanings, but from one songwriter to another, I’m betting the latter suggestion is touching a little more close to home than food, sports or weather.

I’m gonna role with it…

So basically what I can conclude is this:

On Dec. 25th I should think about a partridge in a pear tree as my heavenly father who gave his one and only son for ME, so I could have eternal life.

On Dec. 26th I will think about 2 turtledoves/the Old & New Testaments and the powerful life changing presence scripture can have on my life.

On Dec. 27th I will think about 3 French Hens, which represent the Three Theological Virtues: 1. Faith: belief in God and the truth of His revelation. 2. Hope: The expectation of something and the capability of never giving up. 3. Charity: The selfless, unconditional love for someone else, which is kind of a good thing to be reminded of during the holidays.

On Dec. 28th I will think about 4 Calling Birds, or rather, the Four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke & John, who tell 4 varied accounts of Jesus’ life on earth.

On Dec. 29th I will think about 5 Golden Rings. And no, not the Three-Row narrow band of pave’ round platinum diamonds from Tiffany’s that I know won’t find their way under my tree, I’m talking about the Pentateuch: The First 5 Books of the Old Testament… 5 books that form the very backbone of my theology.

On Dec. 30th I will think about 6 Geese A-laying = the 6 days of Creation…kind of important…nuff said.

On Dec. 31st I will think of 7 Swans A-swimming/the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit (not typically the kinds of gifts we in North America are used to receiving): Prophecy, Ministry, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leading & Compassion. 1 Corinthians 12:8-11

On Jan 1st, 2012, the start of a brand new year, I will think about 8 Maids A-milking – the 8 Beatitudes, and I will stop and consider what blessed REALLY means: 1. The poor in spirit. 2. Those who mourn. 3. The meek. 4. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. 5. The merciful. 6. The pure in heart. 7. The peacemakers. 8. Those who are persecuted for righteousness sake. Matthew 5:3-10

On Jan. 2nd I will think about 9 Ladies Dancing = The 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Generosity, Faithfulness, Gentleness & Self-Control (ha, self-control during the holiday’s, how ironic is that?). Galatians 5:22 & 23

On Jan. 3rd I will think about 10 Lords A-leaping, or rather, the 10 Commandments: 1. You shall have no other gods before me. 2. Do not make for yourself idols of any kind. 3. Do not take the Lord’s name in vain. 4. Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy. 5. Honor your father and mother. 6. Do not murder 7. Do not commit adultery. 8. Do not steal. 9. Do not bear false witness. 10. Do not covet (also a good thing to remember around the holiday season). Exodus 20:1-17

On Jan. 4th I will think about 11 Pipers Piping/the 11 faithful apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alpheus, Simon the Zealot & Judas son of James (Thaddeus). Luke 6:14-16

On Jan. 5th I will actually think of 12 Drummers Drumming as they play ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’, and I shall forever think differently about the word partridge. On this 12th day, as I look forward to the new year that lie ahead, I will think of what the 12 days of Christmas really mean.

7:14pm: entry completed.

12 Days of Christmas

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With a million things to do and not enough hours in the day to get it done, it's easy to zone out and slip into autopilot in order to survive. But perhaps life is not about adding more things to your already lengthy list, but rather, about pausing in the midst of it all to consider if what you're doing is really important.