• P. Frank

Nine Ladies Dancing

On the ninth day of Christmas … nine ladies dancing. This day’s gift in the song can stand for the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self–control; against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22–23).

1) LOVE. In the Greek translation of the Bible, there are two different primary words used for love: “philia,” which is the kind of love felt between friends, and “agape,” which is a sacrificial, unconditional love like that of God. The word for love used in Galatians 5:22 is agape. Through the Holy Spirit, we can love one another with this sacrificial love. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” (1 John 3:16). As discussed on the third day of Christmas, LOVE is the greatest virtue. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” (1 Corinthians 13:4–7).

2) JOY. We think of joy as a feeling experienced when something good happens, but like love, joy in the Biblical sense does not come from what we experience but from what God gives us. Christians should even count trials as joy, because the testing of faith produces qualities that build up believers. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” (James 1:2-3).

3) PEACE. While peace between people and nations in the world is often short-lived, God’s peace is lasting, giving comfort and a sense of wellbeing even when things are not going right. This peace comes from knowing that He is in control and He has a plan for all people, and in fact has already given all people the opportunity to be eternally saved. This peace cannot be taken away, regardless of personal disputes and international relations. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27).

4) PATIENCE. God’s timeline doesn’t always match our own. This requires the Christian to patiently trust that God’s plans are perfect and worth the wait! Patience is bearing with annoyance, provocation, pain, and other misfortunes without complaint or loss of tempter. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9).

5) KINDNESS. Christians are called to look outward, not inward. Kindness means being considerate, compassionate, and helpful to others. There are many ways to show kindness to others. Christians are encouraged to speak kindly to others so that they will be built up and encouraged. “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29).

6) GOODNESS. The worldly definitions of goodness could make anyone’s head spin. For example, certain foods are deemed good for your health, and then bad. Others are thought to be bad, and then good. God’s definition of goodness was laid out long ago in the Ten Commandments. Jesus reminded his disciples of this: “’Why do you ask me about what is good?’ Jesus replied. ‘There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.’” (Matthew 19:17).

7) FAITHFULNESS. Christ shows true faithfulness to God, because He did not sin during His time on earth. The Holy Spirit enables us to be steady and constant in our relationship with God which is possible only through Jesus, and this is how we show faithfulness. “But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.” (Hebrews 3:6).

8) GENTLENESS. Jesus came into the world not through power but in a meek and mild manner, born to a lowly carpenter and a young virgin. He calls Christians to likewise be moderate and kind rather than trying to accomplish works through force. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:29-30).

9) SELF-CONTROL. Sinfulness is looking inward and giving into the desires of the flesh. But through Christ, we are able to control our impulses for the benefit of others, thus furthering the work of God. “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7).

”The Twelve Days of Christmas” song image is by Xavier Romero-Frias and used under Creative Commons license BY-SA 3.0.