“On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me twelve drummers drumming…”
Side note: can we just take a minute and CHECK OUT the mustaches on those drummers? Hipster-chic!
Symbolism: The twelve drummers drumming stand for the twelve doctrinal points of the Apostles’ Creed, which are:
1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
3. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.
4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.
5. He descended into hell. On the third day he rose again.
6. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
7. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
8. I believe in the Holy Spirit,
9. the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints,
10. the forgiveness of sins,
11. the resurrection of the body,
12. and the life everlasting.
Your Mission: Pick one! There has to be something in there that piques your curiosity or causes some sort of consternation, so pick it! Find out about it. Do a little armchair theologian sleuthing and answer all your questions about it. When I was in college, it was #9 that really got me: “the holy catholic…” (note the small “c”) “…Church, the communion of saints”. The theology of the idea of “Church” (the fancy theology word for it is “ecclesiology” for you latte sippers out there) as the all-encompassing Body of Christ is a big passion of mine, and at the time I was not Catholic. A very firm Christ-follower, but not Catholic. In fact, I was quite anti-Catholic. It was that bit about the “communion of saints” that really got me thinking as my Church History class studied the Apostles’ Creed. I’d read the martyrdom narrative of Saints Perpetua and Felicity and it really resonated with me. Maybe the idea of saints wasn’t all that bad? And besides, it’s in the creed! I took that phrase and studied it, prayed over it, allowed it to shape me….and here I am, seven years later, in Catholic ministry and I couldn’t be happier about it. Goes to show you.
Bonus Points: Memorize the Apostles’ Creed. Seriously, go for it! You probably already have the Nicene Creed that we recite every week at Mass memorized, but what about this one? We have two for a reason, and I actually quite like the Apostles’ Creed because it appeals to our New England sensibilities; it’s short, it’s to the point, it’s no frills, it gets down to business. And, if you really stop and think about it, it tells the most miraculous and amazing story of God’s love for us and what He was willing to do to be close to us…which is really what all 12 days of Christmas are about, isn’t it?