Last Saturday I started the 12 Days of Christmas post series based on a book called The Real 12 Days of Christmas by Helen Haidle. You can read the introduction about it and the first 7 days here.
"On the eighth day of Christmas, my True Love gave to me...eight maids a-milking..."
According to tradition, the eight maids a-milking are representative of the "eight unique teachings of Jesus sometimes called the Beatitudes." (Haidle) These specific teachings are found in Matthew 5:3-10:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If you read one more verse, there is another "Blessed are...," which is simply restating verse 10. The Scriptures often do this to show emphasis on something in particular. Apparently being persecuted for Christ is something we should seriously rejoice in...He said it three times! Here are verses 10-12:
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Sidenote: If you're being persecuted by anyone for anything that pertains to your faith in Jesus Christ, take heart! He sees it; He doesn't miss a thing. And you will see treasure from it in heaven one Day. Treasure that you will in turn have the opportunity to lay at the feet of Christ Himself...oh Glory!
Okay, so back to the milking maids. Why milk?
Just as milk brings nourishment and promotes development in an infant, the concepts taught by Jesus here will edify and fortify us into spiritual maturity.
"...like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation..." 1 Peter 2:2