Today’s Word: ‘YES!’ as in… a day of saying ‘Yes!’ to the Feast of Mary on this Eighth Day of Christmas Today! There’s so much here! Where do we begin?
In the ancient tradition of the Twelve Days of Christmas, today is all about “Eight Maids a Milking.”
According to some legends, this is a wonderfully subversive reference to the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5: the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the merciful, those who seek righteousness, the peacemakers, etc.
In other versions of The Twelve Days, the eighth day also references eight ladies dancing, hares a running, hounds a running, or eight boys singing. One ancient version even includes eight biting cows on this eighth day of the season! Let’s just let that all soak in for a moment. Okay, ready to keep going?
Whatever the case may be, in an even more ancient version of what’s known as the Liturgical Church Calendar, today is the Feast of Mary, the Mother of God. This is the young woman who said “Yes!” to the remarkable dream of God: the Incarnation—God with us, God for us, Christ among us, Christ in us. Mary’s response of faith and trust, her “Yes!” is stunning considering her young age, her vulnerability, her utter humanness. Facing that and in spite of that, she said “Yes! I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
The old year has passed. The old decade is now behind us. A new year stretches out in front of us all with weeks and months already filled to the brim with ideas, hopes, dreams, and expectations as well as, perhaps, some fear and trembling! Yet, as this new year unfolds, let’s step into and through each day with Mary’s courageous “Yes!” ringing through the centuries right into each of our moments. Her ‘yes’ becomes our dream! Her faith becomes our hope! Her trust becomes our response! Her obedience becomes our model! And like Mary, we, in our vulnerability and utter humanness can keep all these things and ponder them in our hearts. Absolutely. Yes.