Singing of carols and the “Twelve Days of Christmas…”
Yesterday, one of British author Veronica Heley’s lovely e-newsletters was waiting for me in my e-mail inbox. (You can read my review of her Ellie Quicke stories here: An American Review of an “English Cosy,” a.k.a — A Delightful Read!)
I love when I see her name there, because I know she always has a fun story or two to tell in a cozy friend-to-friend style. This time, sharing a bit about her Christmas, she wrote:
The highlights of my Christmas were, in fact, when we went carol singing, which we did once in the open air in our local parade of shops and once in a crowded pub. I wore a red hat, sang alto when I couldn’t reach the top notes and only needed throat pastilles once. It was lovely to see passers-by stop in the street to join in, and for people in the pub to get so enthusiastic about it.
Don’t you love that? Passers-by joining in… the image of singing there in a “parade of shops,” most likely decked out with holly and ivy… and others even asking them to come in and sing! (English pubs are more of a friendly place to hang out with neighbors… a bit different than our U.S. image of bars.) Reading it, I felt that itch again to go caroling…
Yet…A few years ago, a group from my church attempted to carol in a fairly new subdivision. I was shocked to see people actually turning out their lights… drawing their blinds… and willing us to go away. What is wrong today that people are suspicious even of something as beautiful as caroling? I couldn’t help but wonder.
As a kid in a warm climate, I always dreamed of caroling in the snow…being met by smiling people on their front porches, people who might even invite the group in for a little hot chocolate… Maybe those times are long gone, but it was lovely to get a picture of Ms. Heley and her fellow carolers being so well received. She explained to me a bit more when I responded to her e-mail, saying that they had carefully asked permission of the shop owners, and found they LOVED it… Someone in the pub had even come out and asked them to sing inside!
Still… I wonder how we have come so far as to need permission to sing something lovely, refresh others. Hmm… Then again, when reading of the secret behind the carol of twelve days, I see maybe that front against this season’s joy has always been a bit hard won…
For those of you who are waiting… here is the rest of the code to one of the most long-lasting carols of the season:
The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit:
Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and
The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit: Love, Joy,
Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self
The ten lords a-leaping were the Ten Commandments.
The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in The
Christmas may be over for the year… but let us keep a carol in our hearts and be ready to sing hope…joy… light over others.
To close, here’s another nice image from Ms. Heley for the new year:
Now we are in 2012, and our first prayer meeting is going to be looking backwards, lighting candles in memory of those who have died but are still in our hearts . . . and after that we can turn our minds from the past and look forward to spring. And I can start writing again, hurray!
By the way… do you have any fun remembrances of going caroling in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear about them…
Tag: Singing of the Twelve Days of Christmas...