It is a delight to be the spouse of a hard working, joy-filled, dedicated man.



Thursday, January 1, 2009

On the eight day of Christmas
My True Love gave to me
Eight Maids a milking...


Maids and Milk

That's one heck of a dairy you have, to get eight maids to milk it. We used to have dairy goats along with our sheep. I loved them, and I miss having them. But that memory lane is for another post, another time.

In the all the different versions of what the Twelve Days of Christmas stand for the eight maids a milking stand for the eight beatitudes that Jesus began his Sermon on the Mount with.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Now that is truly a collection of eight maids.
Maids serve.
Maids are virginal, pure.
To take the position of these attributes would certainly serve us, give us purity of heart, mind and soul.

As for them milking, throughout the Bible milk is not just another food.

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 1Peter 2:1-3

The Old Testament writings frequently refer to the Promised land as the land "flowing with milk and honey." The Christian's Promised Land cannot be found on a map, we cannot tromp the earth and discover it. We are brought to it by our merciful God who gives His only Son that we may live in the Promised Land first here on earth and then for eternity in Heaven with Him.

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds; for riches do not endure forever, and a crown is not secure for all generations.
When the hay is removed and new growth appears and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
the lambs will provide you with clothing, and the goats with the price of a field. You will have plenty of goats' milk to feed you and your family and to nourish your servant girls.

Proverbs 27:23-27


When we begin to look at the significance of maids and milk, the picture that eight maids a milking bring to mind are far richer than just the number eight. The eight beatitudes are like eight maids that serve, and bring purity into our lives, they make tending our flocks and herds more certain, that our riches in Christ may increase and not dwindle and wan.


Eight

The number eight certainly is significant and it is not entirely coincidental why I suppose there are eight beatitudes. Or why the Eighth Day of Christmas is the first of January, the first day of the New Year.

I'm not a numbers person but this is really fairly interesting. Today's discussion might make you look at today just a little differently.

Even though in some traditions the "days of Christmas" can begin being counted off on the twenty sixth of December making this then the seventh day and in our family depending upon what is going on I have often started the first day of Christmas on the twenty sixth, I may think twice about that from here on out. Because listen to what I found about the number eight and why it is so Godincidental that it has landed on the New Year!

"In Hebrew the number eight is hnm# (Sh'moneh), from the root Nm# (Shah'meyn), "to make fat," "cover with fat," "to super-abound." As a participle it means "one who abounds in strength," etc. As a noun it is "superabundant fertility," "oil," etc. So that as a numeral it is the superabundant number."

Isn't that what we all wished for at Midnight this morning? What we hoped we were ringing in? Abundance? Is that what the New Year is, superabundant fertility? The New Year is pregnant with possibilities.

Then:
Circumcision, consecration, happens on the eighth day:

Leviticus 12:3 On the eighth day the boy is to be circumcised.
"You must give me the firstborn of your sons. Do the same with your cattle and your sheep. Let them stay with their mothers for seven days, but give them to me on the eighth day. Exodus 22:29-30


As we know, things of the Old Testament foreshadow, foretell, prophesy what is to come.

Eight is the number of resurrection, new beginnings.

One is the number of beginning, seven is the number of completion.

Christ rose on the eighth day of the week.

Believe me when I say I am not a numbers person, I don't have "a number," I don't have a favorite number. But all of a sudden in this whole going over the Days of Christmas for something to focus on for my Christmas Season blogging, I am really becoming a number person.

The Godincidence that yesterday, the last day of the year, just so happens to be the seventh day of Christmas, the number of completion is just to groovy. And now the whole thing about eight and New Years Day, pretty nifty if you ask me.

So I got to thinking, the year that New Year actually falls on a Sunday, the first or eighth day is in two-thousand twelve. Hmmmm. So maybe all those predictor people are right and two thousand twelve is the beginning of the end. But then again we probably have had a great many New Year's Days that fell on a Monday.(I meant Sunday) In fact the last one was 'o six and six is the number of man so maybe 'o six was the beginning of the end.

Okay all silliness aside, I was just now wondering if the choice of December twenty-fifth was based on then when New Years was on the calendar or if it is completely Godincidental?

Dear Reader, have a terrific New Year's Day. Make it a very special one. Not what someone else thinks it should look like but what you want it to look like, what you need it to look like, what God wants it to look like in your life today!

Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. Galatians 6:15


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17

2 comments:

KathyB. said...

Wow, I learn so much from you Lanny. I especially like the discussion of milk and milking maids. Plus, the analogy using the care of flocks is always so full of import and meaning, for our literal flocks, for our church flock, for the shepherds, and especially how it all points to THE Shepherd...and tender of our hearts and souls.....now that lambing is almost upon us, it takes on even more meaning ...

So how is the shepherd of Victory Farms doing in his protection of the flocks against the ravening coyotes ?

Daisy said...

Wonderful post, Lanny. I have always found the beatitudes to give me great comfort. I really like the analogies that you draw to make your points. Well done.