The Rest of the Secret Behind the Carol…

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
Apostles’ Creed.

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...


About Pam@Writing...Apples of Gold

I love to hear your thoughts, even chat back and forth amongst comments.Won't you join the conversation? :) ..................................................................................................................... May my stories refresh you, like a whisper from our Father's Heart !
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5 Responses to The Rest of the Secret Behind the Carol…

  1. Thank you, Pam for sharing to us the rest of the codes. Also for the little bit something abouy Ms. Heley and her group carolers.

    We don’t have woods where we are but I had some carolling experiences with our church. It such fun to see the faces of the people we sang to when instead of us asking for gifts in exchange of our carols….. we brought some bags of goodies to give away to families. We mostly went to homes whom we made contact with to share the Gospel and eventually be saved. In our community, it is customary for children to go on a house to house carolling for coins and candies. So it was such a surprise when we did not ask for our carolling tokens but bringing them gifts.

  2. Thanks for sharing about caroling in the Philippines, Lolita! That’s wonderful that you were met with happy faces to your carols!

  3. Diane says:

    I so enjoy hearing of caroling stories. It was great to hear about caroling in the Phillippines! How special that you brought gifts, Lolita! I loved “passerbys joining in”…aahhh…

  4. Marilyn says:

    Oh yes, about 25 years ago, we decided to go caroling to the home of an elderly couple in our church. As we hit the chords of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Glory to the Newborn King, the door creaked, slowly opening and as we sang louder, the pastor noticed the elderly man had opened the door but by his side, he had a shotgun. “Brother Bradford, he yelled, it’s us, the church people. Don’t shoot.” Whewww even though he was hard of hearing and seeing, somehow he came to the realization that we were from the church. It turned out to be a “Silent Night” after all.

    • Oh my gosh, what a hilarious story! But must’ve been frightening in the moment. Isn’t it crazy how something so beautiful can scare some people off – a sign of the world we live in, I guess. Thank you for sharing that, Marilyn. Sounds like a fun piece you could write up for a magazine sometime… 🙂

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