Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Does Everyone Else Get These E-Mails?

Every Christmastime, some idiot will always forward one of these "fill-in-the-blank is really secret code for something Biblical" e-mails. Sort of a DaVinci Code Christmas special or something. They're all based on the odd notion that in pre-20th Century Europe, Christians had to worship in secret for fear of persecution or something. And of course, they're all nonsense.

During the years from 1558 until 1829, law did not permit Roman Catholics in England to practice their religious openly. Because of this, a song was written for young Catholics. This carol that we sing today has two levels of meaning, the meaning we all hear and understand but a hidden coded meaning for members of the church. This code was to help Catholic children remember the religious meaning.

The code was as follows:

  • The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

Oh, that makes sense. Because what better representation of a man suffering a slow, painful death than a plump little bird sitting in a fruit tree? i know whenever I see birds alighting on the branches outside our window, what immediately springs to mind is the torturous execution methods of the Roman Empire! 
Oh, look! Here come some little birdies now!

  • Two turtledoves were the Old and New Testaments.
  • Three French hens stood for faith, hope, and love.
  • The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Ridiculous! Everyone knows that the three French hens stand for the trinity!

And it goes on and on like that. It's ridiculous, of course, but people apparently really believe it. I mean, you might as well say that "Nine Pound Hammer" is about the "nine fruits of the Holy Spirit"  Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness. Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control. Or that "One is the Loneliest Number" is about the one true God or something.

Although it's probably a bit less ridiculous than the true story of the candy cane:

The True Meaning of the Candy Cane
A candy maker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness for Jesus, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane.

Now, one might suppose that the candymaker might make, say a chocolate crucifix or a marzipan nativity scene or something, but no. That would be too obvious! The bad guys might catch on. You do NOT want to get caught practicing Christianity in Indiana!

. . .he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus Christ. 

Lovingly rendered in peppermint.

He began with a stick of pure white hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and sinless nature of Jesus. The hardness of the candy was used to to symbolize the Solid Rock, the Foundation of the Church and firmness of the promises of God.

Really? Is that really what anyone would think of when eating hard candy? Why, this candy is as hard as the rock-solid promises of God and oh, wait. It broke.

The candy maker made this candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It also represents the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which he reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs, who like all sheep have gone astray.
Great, except that it's not a "J." And if you turn it over so that it does look like a J, it's a lower-case j, which is not what one uses for a proper name, especially if that name is the name of the Lord God. 
Dude, not cool!

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the flogging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ at the cross so we could have the promise of eternal life.

Wouldn't they both be blood? Wouldn't the "stripes" from flogging be blood? Also, he decided to commemorate the blood of Christ because the candy looked a little plain? That seems like a pretty flippant reason to bring up the Blood of Christ. 

The bread just seemed a little plain by itself.