Saturday before last, I started the 12 Days of Christmas post series based on a book called The Real 12 Days of Christmas by Helen Haidle. You can read the introduction about it and the first 11 days here.
"On the twelfth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me...twelve drummers drumming..."
Most people who have written on this subject will say that the twelve drummers are the twelve points in the Apostle's Creed. It seems the reason that many say that is because they also believe that it was the persecuted Catholics in England who devised the "hidden" meanings to protect their doctrine.
As I mentioned in my first post in this series, I'm not sure that I agree with that opinion since there is no physical evidence that it was a Catholic group or individual who wrote the song. Furthermore, and more importantly, it doesn't make any sense that this song would provide protection for the Catholic belief points mentioned in the song when those who were opposed to the Catholic church (the Anglican church) claimed the same points in their doctrine.
Plus, there are so many references to the number 12 in Scripture; why should I attribute these 12 to something that isn't in Scripture?
SO, I may be in the minority here, but here's what I see.
Look at this description, written by Neil W. Grover, as to the purpose of the drum during the time of the writing of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" --
"As far back as the middle ages, guilds of drummers were formed to add brilliant rhythm and flourishes to festivals, occasions of the royal court and to march troops to battle."
Festivals make me think of praise...they are a time of celebration and recognition of something of worth...just exactly what we do when we praise God. Festivals typically include a feast; when we praise God, we are feasting on His goodness.
"He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD." Deuteronomy 8:3
The closest thing that I have ever experienced regarding a royal court is corporate worship. Think about it: it's a time when those who belong to God's Royal Court come together to give homage to One who is Sovereign. Here is a definition of "royal court" found on dictionary.com:
|1.||the family and retinue of a sovereign or prince [syn: court]|
|2.||the sovereign and his advisers who are the governing power of a state|
Drums have been used in battle for several centuries. Particularly in the 1600's, drums were used for several purposes during warfare. They kept the soldiers in time so that they marched together in a straight line approaching the enemy. The drums also were used by the Commanding Officer to communicate maneuvers to his battalions. No doubt the beating of the company drums also instilled courage and vigor into the hearts of the men.
In "The 12 Days of Christmas" song, my True Love gave 12 drummers drumming. I believe these 12 drummers can be better represented by 12 leaders, one set for each people group:
For the Jews: 12 Tribes
For the Gentiles: 12 Apostles (after Judas was replaced by Matthias)
Those 12 tribes of Israel laid the foundation for the Ancient Hebrew and their descendants for the watching and the receiving of the long awaited Messiah. Not only did their Messiah come through them, but in the meantime they taught their descendants how to praise and worship God in obedience until He came. God also used the leaders of these 12 tribes to lead the Israelites to defeat their enemies.
Later, the 12 Apostles, those who laid the foundation of the church, were the men who gave us the instruction manual for understanding how God's salvation applies to us (evoking praise); they gave us the blueprint for what the Church should look like (corporate worship); and went before us in spiritual warfare to encourage us to press on.
Now I don't know if there is another soul who would ever see it this way, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it. :-)
Now, just for fun, I thought I would post a fun, contemporary version of this beloved song.
Enjoy the video: