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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
The Rev. Tim Schenck, rector of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Mass., looks for God amid domestic chaos
The 12 Days of Christmas (The “Real” True Meaning)
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About this blog
Tim Schenck is an Episcopal priest, husband to Bryna, father to Benedict and Zachary, and \x34master\x34 to Delilah (about 50 in dog years). Since 2009 I've been the rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Mass. (on the ...
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Father Tim
Tim Schenck is an Episcopal priest, husband to Bryna, father to Benedict and Zachary, and \x34master\x34 to Delilah (about 50 in dog years). Since 2009 I've been the rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Mass. (on the South Shore of Boston). I've also served parishes in Maryland and New York. When I'm not tending to my parish, hanging out with my family, or writing, I can usually be found drinking good coffee -- not that drinking coffee and these other activities are mutually exclusive. I hope you'll visit my website at www.frtim.com to find out more about me, read some excerpts from my book \x34What Size are God's Shoes: Kids, Chaos & the Spiritual Life\x34 (Morehouse, 2008), and check out some recent sermons.
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By Father Tim
Dec. 28, 2012 11:20 a.m.



EpiphanybatmanDuring these Twelve Days of Christmas, you’ll see a number of e-mails about the alleged “meaning” behind the traditional carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” While this is my least favorite Christmas song (shades of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall), there is compelling evidence that this was composed as an underground catechetical ditty. So the Four Calling Birds refer to the four gospels, the Six Geese a-Laying symbolize the six days of creation, and so on.

Of course there’s equally compelling evidence that this is complete baloney. See the supposed meanings and the debunking on Snopes.com.

Whatever you believe, I have actually done some exhaustive research (and by “exhaustive” I mean that I’m still completely exhausted from all the Christmas services), and have uncovered the “real” true meaning behind this carol.

The Twelve Days of Christmas



(the “Real” True Meaning)



A Partridge in a Pear Tree — the rector hiding in a tree from coffee hour complaints

Two Turtle Doves — the two parishioners comprising the parish Peace and Justice Committee

Three French Hens — the three French ladies who sit in the front row every year at Midnight Mass

Four Calling Birds — four members of the Commission on Ministry

Five Gold Rings — five bishops caucusing at the House of Bishops meeting

Six Geese a-Laying — six seminarians laying homiletical eggs in the pulpit

Seven Swans a-Swimming — seven baptisms at the Easter Vigil, stretching the liturgy to three hours

Eight Maids a-Milking — eight members of the hospitality committee bringing non-dairy creamer to coffee hour

Nine Ladies Dancing — the one and only time liturgical dance appeared at St. Swithin’s

Ten Lords a-Leaping — inserted into the new Christmas Pageant from the avant garde director

Eleven Pipers Piping — the eleven funeral last year that included a bag piper playing Amazing Grace at the end

Twelve Drummers Drumming — the “drumming circle” used at the ill-fated “contemporary worship service”


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