The Sixth Day of Christmas—the Six Days of Creation

Carolyn’s Online Magazine



Each year my husband Monte and I design a Christmas ornament to use as our Christmas card—a 41 year tradition. Through the years I’ve been incorporating ornaments created on the gifts listed in the popular song, The 12 Days of Christmas.

At first glance this song appears to be a secular song with nothing to do with the reason for the season: the birth of Jesus Christ. The gifts seem nonsensical:

a partridge in a pear tree

turtle doves

French hens

4 calling birds

5 golden rings

6 geese a-laying

7 swans a-swimming

8 maids a-milking

9 ladies dancing

10 Lords a-leaping

11 pipers piping

12 drummers drumming

However, according to the HANDBOOK OF CATHOLIC SACRAMENTALS two phrases, my true love and a partridge in a pear tree, are code words for Jesus Christ, and each gift hides a secret.

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the Church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

Thus, the

turtle doves represent the Old and the New Testaments

French hens represent faith, hope, and love

calling birds represent the 4 Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

golden rings represent the Pentateuch: the first 5 books of the Bible…

Which brings us to 6 geese a-laying—the theme of the Holland family 2015 Christmas card/ornament. The 6 geese represent the 6 days of creation related in Genesis 1:1 – 2:4:

Created the heaven and the Earth, day and night

Divided heaven from Earth—sky and sea

Created the land, sea and vegetation

Created the sun, moon and stars

Created creatures of the sea and the sky

Created land animals mankind

This year there is a set of 6 different ornaments, each depicting one of the days of creation. Included in the 6 copyright-free photographs of geese a-laying I found on the Internet are two considered “hero geese.”

One is the goose representing the first gift, the creation of the heaven and the earth, night and day:

On Mother’s Day, in mid-May, 2015, a Canada goose was sitting on her nest of eggs. Two walkers noticed smoke rising from the ground as they passed by. Investigating, they found a smoldering goose nest, a little blaze around it. It held 6 eggs. They saw the mother, who was nearby…a large section of her flight and tail feathers were burnt clean off in her attempts to smother the fire…(her) bill was also damaged by the flames of


The fire was deliberately set when someone put cigarette butts in the nest.

The Canadian goose did the motherly thing by taking the brunt of the heat and the fire.

Later she received daily shots of antibiotics to prevent infection. Five of the eggs, some having scorch marks, were placed into an incubator at a rehab center, even though there was a possibility they were damaged beyond repair—and would perhaps not hatch.


The second goose’s heroism is depicted on creation days 2 and 5.


On May 2, 2013, during a blizzard hit the Midwest, a storm with a snowfall…likely exceed a foot…a goose was nesting on a city-owned retention pond at the back of a man’s property. The goose remained on her nest even though she was buried up to her beak by snow.


The goose remained on the nest even as some of the snow melted from her back, unburying her some. Temperatures were predicted to climb from near freezing to about 700, putting the mother’s eggs at risk to loss by flooding. However, during flooding due to the rapid snow melt this mother persisted in protecting her unhatched brood from the elements. She worked feverishly to rebuild her nest after an overnight water rise.


I wrote to you last Friday with news of a goose buried up to her beak as she dutifully continued to incubate the eggs on her nest amidst our record setting snowstorm of May 2nd.  I thought you might like to know that since then the rapidly melting snow has created more difficulty for her – flooding, but she persists in protecting her unhatched brood from the elements…working feverishly on building up the nest after water rose overnight.


NOTE: the man on the 6th day of creation ornament is my brother, Hugh Kerry Lipsius.



Latest post,postaday2015, Lifestream,All posts, Miscellaneous, Inspirational,Sixth Day of Christmas,Twelve Days of Christmas, Six Gesse a laying, Geese heros

About carolyncholland

In several if my nine lives I have been a medical lab technician and a human service worker specializing in child day care, adoptions and family abuse. Currently I am a photo/journalist/writer working on a novel and a short story. My general writings can be viewed at My novel site is
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s