The Twelve Days of Christmas was originally a French carol. Why, especially would they need a reference to “ 3 FRENCH HENS”? Aren’t all hens in France French hens? Why would the carol make note of an obvious distinction?
The reference to a “FRENCH HEN” (rather than an English variety of chicken) may have just been because the rhyme sounded better that way. In the original French, the carol sang: “Trois poules françaises” – literally three French female poultry (a hen).
The habits of French hens are very different from breed to breed. The Crèvecoeur is the oldest of the standard-bred fowls of France – black with a beautiful plume on its head. The Houdan has an unusual butterfly-shaped comb, and is one of few breeds to have five toes rather than the usual four. La Flèche hens look a lot like our chickens and lay very large white eggs. Of all the French breeds of chicken, it is said that the La Flèche became the most popular around the world and therefore… the obvious choice of this referral.
Three hens stay together and work together; they sleep together and hunt food together. Because of this, when a person buys hens they are advised to buy three at a time.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me – THREE FRENCH HENS.
It is said that this referral is to FAITH, HOPE and LOVE (I Corinthians 13:13) the things that “remain” in our faith. When all is said and done, our belief in God, our identity as sons and the core of our being boils down to faith, hope and love.
I think of my own life – the cornerstone of my faith is Jesus Christ - his finished work on the cross and His resurrection. After that, what remains in me is faith, hope and love – the hens that work together and are seen together in the courtyard of my life.
If we don’t have a benefactor who gives without finding fault, we all would be in a place where we need to love more. Our faith would be cold…nothing more than knowledge of Christ and His sacrifice. Because of our true love we are given gifts of faith, hope and love. We just need to open them and see what oozes out!
On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me THREE FRENCH HENS – Faith hope and love.