In the bleak midwinter, frost wind made moan,
earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
in the bleak midwinter, long ago.
Our God, heaven cannot hold him, nor earth sustain;
heaven and earth shall flee away when he comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
the Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.
Angels and archangels may have gathered there,
cherubim and seraphim thronged the air;
but his mother only, in her maiden bliss,
worshiped the beloved with a kiss.
What can I give him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him: give my heart.
A friend of mine turned me on to this ole' Christmas hymn... Here it is for your listening enjoyment...
During the English Reformation, Roman Catholics in England were prohibited from any practice of their faith by law in public or private.
It is said that the delightful nonsense rhyme, "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written as one of the catechism songs to help young Catholics learn the tenets of the faith - as to be caught with anything in writing indicating even remote adherence to the Catholic faith would warrant serious punishment.
The gifts in the song are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song does not refer to any earthly suitor, but to God Himself.
The "me" who receives the presents refer to every baptised person.
The symbols in the song mean the following:
A Partridge in a Pear Tree = Christ as the partridge, the cross as the pear tree
2 Turtle Doves = The Old and New Testaments
3 French Hens = The three gifts of the Magi, Faith, Hope, and Charity (the theological virtues), or the three Persons of the Trinity
4 Calling Birds = The Four Gospels/Evangelists
5 Golden Rings = The Pentateuch (the first 5 books of the Old Testament)
6 Geese A-laying = The six days of creation
7 Swans A-swimming = The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit or the seven sacraments
8 Maids A -milking = The eight beatitudes
9 Ladies Dancing = The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit
10 Lords A-leaping = The Ten Commandments
11 Pipers Piping = The eleven faithful Apostles
12 Drummers Drumming = The twelve articles in the Apostles' Creed
The Twelve Days of Christmas are the festive days beginning on Christmas Day; this period is also known as Christmastide, and ending on the day before the Feast of the Epiphany (Three Kings Day) on January 6.
The Church celebrates several feasts throughout the year which contain the -mas suffix, such as Candlemas (Presentation of Our Lord), Michaelmas (the feast of St Michael the Archangel) and the little-known Lammas (Loaf-mass Day, or the first wheat harvest of the year).
The word "Christmas" is a contraction of the phrase "Christ's Mass", derived from the Middle English Christemasse and Old English Cristes mæsse, which refers to what is properly known as the (Mass of the) Solemnity of the Nativity of Our Lord.
So, for this Christmas, do not stop at remembering Christ; remember the liturgy, the great gift the Church has given to us for celebration of the Eucharist!