In “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, our TRUE LOVE gives us live gifts from days one through four for new life. On day five, our TRUE LOVE seals it with a sign of covenant – FIVE GOLD RINGS. From day six until the day twelve, our TRUE LOVE sends a series of action gifts.
On the NINTH DAY of Christmas, my TRUE LOVE gave to me…NINE LADIES DANCING!
There is nothing – and I mean nothing- that livens up a party more than dancing. Music, movement, and joy signifies celebration! Tradition holds that NINE LADIES DANCING symbolizes the nine FRUITS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT:
“…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Galatians 5:22,23)
Take a look at that! The fruit of the Holy Spirit is what comes out of us – if God is alive in us!
I used to see the FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT as a list: “This is what I need to have in order for me to be a good Christian girl.” I strived for years to have love (which was kind of easy, until I came across someone I didn't like at all…), joy (also easy - if I was in a good mood), peace (almost impossible as a mother of 4 children), patience (I’d have more if everyone else would move their ass), kindness (telemarketers didn’t count, I had permission to be horrid to them), goodness (*cricket, cricket*), faithfulness (I was pretty good with that one…until I wasn't), gentleness (I have never been great at “gentle”), and self control (with my compulsive nature, I never had much self-control).
After years of striving, I decided maybe it was a good idea to stay indoors and keep away from people… I was severely deficient.
There is a scene in Cinderella (the Disney cartoon I’m supposed to hate as a feminist) when the poor step daughter is stripped of the chance to go to the ball and meet the handsome prince. Cinderella’s step-sisters tear at her jewelry and clothes until she is standing in rags, unable to be seen in public. As she has a good, hysterical cry in the garden, her fairy godmother comes along, waves her magic wand and clothes Cinderella in a gown, transforms an ordinary pumpkin and mice into a coach and horses and sends her off to the ball.
I’ve always loved that part of the story. After all, Cinderella deserved to go to the ball and her awful step-sisters didn’t. At the ball, Cinderella dances with the handsome Prince Charming and they fall in love on the dance floor.
Of course, it’s a weak comparison – but it reminds me of the power of Holy Spirit transformation. Once I surrendered to God, I admitted that my own efforts weren’t good enough (Eph. 2:1-5) and only Jesus could make it possible for me to be with Him. Instead of a magic wand, Jesus held the real power of transformation. When someone surrenders their life to Jesus, they are given a living gift – God’s Holy Spirit, alive inside of them. Out of that life comes LOVE, JOY, PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, FAITHFULNESS, GENTLENESS and SELF-CONTROL !
Just like that, any ragamuffin can be outfitted to go to the ball.
Receiving the life of the Holy Spirit isn’t the result of our lame efforts. It doesn’t reflect any super-Christian abilities or intelligent choices. It is the result of an exchanged heart – here is my old, broken one; thank you for Your perfect, beautiful one! This exchange is made possible by our benevolent lover, who accepts our surrender and gives us His Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit alive inside of us that bears fruit – the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.
God’s One and Only Holy Spirit lives inside of us and comes out – brightening the world as a result. In truth, our TRUE LOVE wants to bring us joy so much that He includes the party!
Let’s celebrate with those NINE LADIES DANCING! As somber as some try to make it, the Christian life is alive and there are many opportunities to dance! The best part is, we don’t have to be home by midnight!
Thank you, Jesus!