Eight Maids A-Milkin’?!

Eight Maids-a-Milkin’?! …Welcome to another of this year’s Doug’s 12 Days of Christmas, at the intersection of the song, the children’s game, tradition, culture, and Christ-mas. If you’ve missed a few, check your in-box from yesterday, or ping [email protected]. Today. “Eight…”

What do you think of when you hear “maids a-milkin’?! …Nope, I don’t know either. I saw Geena Davis milk some cows in “League of Their Own,” and Gene Wilder in “Silver Streak.” Maybe you grew up on a farm? Perhaps my friend Mark Faust can help me, as he does quite a bit of consulting in the Ag space.

But for the children who played the original “12 Days of Christmas” Game with their families or at a house church, the importance wasn’t on the maids a-milkin’, but on the “Eight.” Each number represented one of the tenets of faith at a time when the authorities tried to make the practice of faith illegal; the rhyme and color was fun and somewhat nonsensical. The “eight” stood for the… Eight Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

Perhaps you’ve heard the traditional translation: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, …the meek, …the merciful…” It’s found in Matthew 5. It’s deep, rich, and life-giving. Imagine, though, for a moment, if Jesus hadn’t come to Israel long ago, but came today, to America. What would He say? Where would He say it?

Perhaps, if you’re in Cincinnati, you might see a crowd gathered in Eden Park. Or maybe it’d be the Sermon on the Beach for Californians. How would He say it today? The Message translation says it this way:

You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.

You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.

You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat.

You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for.

You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.

You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom.

“Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in.

I hope that is encouraging, in this Christ-mas season; thanks for joining along with me. Until tomorrow, -Doug

12th Day…
…Good morning aviators, 12 points of the Creed.
11th Day…
…Baker’s miracle, 11 faithful disciples/learners.
10th Day…
…Ten Commandments, actually just two.
9th Day…
…Laker Girls, 9 fruits of the Spirit.
8th Day…
…The Sermon on the Mount, 8 Beatitudes.
7th Day…
6th Day…
5th Day…
4th Day…
3rd Day…
2nd Day…
1st Day…


Brian Wells, Speaker
VP, CEO Forum
Co-Founder, Crossroads Church

Wednesday, Jan. 11, Rookwood Pub
6-7:15 p.m.

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