Thursday, January 1, 2015

Nine Ladies Dancing

Friday, January 2, 2015
Within hours after the Christmas day meal, and emptying of the football stadiums you can hear (maybe have said yourself) that Christmas is over.  Some of my friends on Face book have even said it, pleading for warmer weather:  OK, Christmas is over, I want my flip-flops.

Well, I guess Christmas is over if the family gathering and presents is all there is to Christmas.  And if it is, then we’ve fallen into the secular commercialization and Hallmark Channel trap. 

Today is the ninth day of Christmas, celebrated in the famous Twelve Days of Christmas song we all know.  Today is the day when Nine Ladies Dancing are, well….dancing. 

What in the world does that mean?

It’s hard to say, because other than the dancing ladies being the ninth stanza in a fun song to sing at parties, there’s not much authoritative history to tie the song to Scripture.  However there is enough legend/folklore to point to this song as “hymn” celebrating the coming of Christ.  Some sources point to the song as being a cryptic mnemonic rhyming device to help children remember important aspects of Christ’s birth and ministry.  At least one source has our dancing ladies as the 9-fold fruit of the Spirit.[1]

For some, this may be a stretch, but how is it wrong or a bad thing to celebrate what Christ, by the Spirit brings into our lives?

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against these things!     Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)
Supportable tradition or not, celebrating the twelve days of Christmas is a grand way to get past the wrapping paper.  Consider how much the new iPod, name brand jeans and fruitcake fade into obscurity as we focus on what the King brings:

Day 1 - Christ as the partridge, protecting her brood (the church)
Day 2 - turtle doves representing Old and New Testament – all the Word of God
Day 3 –French hens are the great virtues, faith, hope and love
Day 4 –calling birds – the four Gospels proclaiming (calling out) the arrival of salvation
Day 5 – gold rings – the Torah, first five books of the Bible – God’s teaching law
Day 6 – geese a-layin’ are the six days of creation, God as sustainer, provider
Day 7 – swans of swimming echoing the seven gifts of the spirit
Day 8 – maids of milking – the beatitudes (blessedness for mourning, peace, etc)
Day 9 – ladies dancing – 9-fold fruit of the Spirit
Day 10 – Lords of Leaping – the 10 commandments
Day 11 – pipers piping – representing the eleven faithful Apostles
Day 12 – drummers drumming – representing the twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle’s creed.[2]
These days are a time when so many are experiencing a deflating let-down following the frenzy of activities, gift-giving and increased debt.  People are left feeling empty and with a sense of pointlessness; all that effort, expense and energy….for what….20 minutes of shark- like feeding-frenzy on Christmas morning? 
There must be something more!
Friends, your children and grandchildren already know the song.  Why not use that song to point to the real gifts Christ has brought.

For You Today:

Christmas has got to be more than just tinsel; let the ladies dance!

[1] You can read more about that here.
[2] Ibid.

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