CAROLYN'S COMPOSITIONS

December 18, 2014

The 8 Maids-a-milking & the 8 Beatitudes

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

THE EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING

AND

THE EIGHT BEATITUDES

We’re too blessed to be stressed…even in a holiday season.

Eight maids-a-milking…the eighth gift in the song the Twelve Days of Christmas…is the theme of the Monte and Carolyn Holland 2014 Christmas ornament (each year our Christmas card is a hand-made ornament). NOTE: Each illustration uses one of my seven sisters, plus myself, our heads superimposed on pictures of maids-a-milking.

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

The eight maids a-milking addresses two of the major themes of fifteenth and sixteenth century English celebrations and parties during the Christmas holidays – food and romance.

Typically, the work of milking cows (and goats) was a woman’s job. Although milk was not a common beverage during this pre-refrigeration time (it spoiled too quickly), milk based products did not spoil so rapidly. Cheese, sour milk, and custards—which were prized treats for celebrations.

And the word maid? It’s a shortened form of (more…)

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December 16, 2014

Eight Maids-a-Milking from the Twelve Days of Christmas

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

EIGHT MAIDS-A-MILKING

(Eighth Day of the Twelve Days of Christmas)

Family Tradition

Beatitudes

Tradition.

With various and frequent moves and the ordinary changes life brings I’ve found it difficult to maintain holiday traditions. However, one Christmas tradition started more than 40 years ago is our Christmas card tradition. Each year we—usually me—designs and makes an ornament which serves as our “card.”

Through the years I’ve taken ideas from the song the Twelve Days of Christmas, in which each gift has a secret Christian message.

Realizing I am one of 8 sisters I decided to do the 8th day, the maids-a-milking, in 2014. My one older sister, Nancy Lee, nudged me on, concerned serious health problems might reduce the number in future years.

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

Nancy Lee, Sister 1

The eight maids a-milking addresses two of the major themes of fifteenth and sixteenth century English celebrations and parties during the Christmas holidays – food and romance.

Typically, the work of milking cows (and goats) was a woman’s job. Although milk was not a common beverage during this pre-refrigeration time (it spoiled too quickly), milk based products did not spoil so rapidly. Cheese, sour milk, and custards—which were prized treats for celebrations.

And the word maid? It’s a shortened form of maiden, a young, unmarried woman.

This combination of milking and maid lends itself to the idea that a gift of eight maids-a-milking might have more to do with romance than with cows.

During this time period the term go a-milking did have strong romantic connotations. Men used the term when they wanted to propose marriage (or a sexual encounter) with a woman. It was a kind of a code word to test a woman’s response—if she reacts negatively, he can always say he thought she might like to help him with the cows, and they could laugh.

Remember, the gifts in the popular Christmas song The Twelve Days of Christmas each signify a Christian message.

So what do the maids-a-milking signify in the popular Christmas song?

Interestingly enough, it is a code word for the eight Beatitudes that introduce the greatest sermon ever preached: the Sermon on the Mount—Matthew 5:1-12. I could find no information on why maids-a-milking was chosen to represent the Beatitudes. So I still wonder…

Jane: sister 6

Jane: sister 6

In designing the ornament I wanted to incorporated the 8 sisters (including myself), and so connected them, in age and Beatitude order, as follows:

  1. Nancy Lee Cornell Chase:   v. 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit
  2. Carolyn Cornell Holland:   v. 4 Blessed are those who mourn
  3. Pam:   v. 5 Blessed are the meek
  4. Kitty Cornell Duda:   v. 6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
  5. Darlene Aslam:   v. 7 Blessed are the merciful
  6. Jane Lipsius Driver:   v. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart
  7. Cynthia Lipsius:   v. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers
  8. Sally Lipsius Kilgore:   v.10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake.

While making the ornaments I thought about the Norman Rockwell family picture: loving parents seated around a holiday table with their offspring, laughing in a close-knit camaraderie. This scene was truer of (more…)

March 26, 2009

Basic Biblical Teachings for the Godly and Moral Life: 5 The Beatitudes

CAROLYN’S COMPOSITIONS

BASIC BIBLICAL TEACHINGS FOR THE

GODLY AND MORAL LIFE: 5

Guest writer Monte W. Holland

For some time, my husband, Monte, has been concerned about today’s young generation and the ethical behavior, which they are exposed to in today’s society. He sees the inconsistencies in what they experience in society and what is taught by Biblical Scripture, where lessons on “The Godly, Moral Life,” are presented.
As a step in counteracting society’s UnGodly, Immoral life lessons, he developed a series of six lessons, one for each week in Lent, beginning today, Ash Wednesday. Each lesson is divided into seven daily sections. Below is an introduction for the first week, and a link to its entire writings, hosted by the Open Hands Ministry site. Open Hands is a ministry of the United Methodist Churches in the Ligonier, PA, area, which provides layettes for WIC babies in Westmoreland County, and operates second-hand clothing and furnishings stores in Stahlstown and Jeannette.
Click on the same link  
http://www.methodists-care.org/  for a Children and Youth version of this Lenten Study. Earlier segments of this study are also linked there.
AN ON-LINE STUDY GUIDE FOR THE LENTEN SEASON– “Basic Biblical Teachings for the Godly and Moral Life”
LESSON 5  Wednesday March 25 –  Tuesday April 1, 2009
This week we look at the beginning portion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, a section (more…)

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