On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

Twelve Drummers Drumming

I believe in God, the Father almighty; And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; I believe in the Holy Spirit. –from The Apostles’ Creed

As we come to the end of the song and the final installment of this catechism, we affirm the faith of the Church in the Apostles’ Creed.  The twelve drummers represent the twelve points of doctrine that every baptized person professes.  

The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostles’ Creed are: 

  1. I believe in God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth. 
  2. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord. 
  3. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. 
  4. He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. 
  5. On the third day he rose again. He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. 
  6. He will come again to judge the living and the dead. 
  7. I believe in the Holy Spirit.
  8. The holy catholic Church. 
  9. The communion of saints. 
  10. The forgiveness of sins. 
  11. The resurrection of the body. 
  12. And the life everlasting.

Drummers set the rhythm.  The recitation of the faith in the Apostle’s Creed keeps the rhythm steady in our lives.  We not only profess this faith at our baptism, we also reaffirm that faith at our confirmation.  We recite this creed at Eucharist four times a year.  And the creed is said at every funeral, affirming the faith as the deceased passes from this life to the next.  But of greater significance to the catholic rhythm of life is the fact that this creed is said at both Morning and Evening Prayer every day of our lives.  It is a constant reminder of the things that we hold sacred.

In the period when this song was written, a trumpet was used to get people’s attention when a royal decree was announced.  Then, when the herald made the announcement, such as the arrival of the king or the reading of an important proclamation, a drummer kept a steady cadence to emphasize its importance.  There is simply no more important proclamation than that of the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic faith. 

Our Christmas festival celebration is complete.  We have fed on the finest foods and reveled in joyous song and dance.  We have affirmed all that we hold dear about our Lord and His Church.  This is the Season of Incarnation — the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.  Tomorrow we begin to live out the “ordinary” days of our life in Christ.  It is a season of manifestation, revealing Him to all whom we meet.  We know the faith and have affirmed it these twelve days.  Now is the time for us to live that faith in joy and thanksgiving for all of the good gifts that “My True Love gave to me.”

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