And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. Lk 2:8-9
For decades, in the fields outside of Bethlehem, shepherds would raise and care for lambs. These were not ordinary lambs. In only this part of Israel, these lambs were set aside for a reason. During lambing season, the shepherds would usher their pudgy charges into the fields so that the ewes had plenty of room to give birth. These specially trained shepherds would spend peaceful days and night in the fields as they waited and tendered each new birth as a special gift from the Father.
You see, these were not to be ordinary lambs. These lambs were bred specifically to be the Passover lambs for the temple.
These lambs were considered a blessing to the nation. Greeted by shepherds as soon as they were born, each lamb was inspected, anointed with oil, then wrapped in swaddling clothes made specifically for this unique birthing. For the next year, these lambs would be tended by their special shepherd, so that they would not get into situations that would cause a blemish and make them unacceptable to the temple priests.
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Lk 2:10-12
There is something that pulls at me so hard when I see these little details that Our Father put in the Christmas story to confirm exactly Who this new baby was and why He came to earth. Wrapping the Law to Grace. Wrapping old covenant to new. Wrapping a pure lamb to a pure infant.
The same swaddling clothes used for Passover lambs used for a baby lying in a manger. Even though the shepherds probably had no idea they were seeing a different kind of Passover Lamb, the Father knew. He knew that at exactly the perfect time, future generations would finally see all the intricate connections and their eyes would be opened.
A baby born at the same time as Passover lambs. Wrapped in the same swaddling clothes and lying in one of the same stables that had covered new Passover lambs for years. Greeted by the same shepherds that greeted every Passover lamb as it started its journey here on earth. Anointed by their prayers and oils.
In times such as these, it is good to open the eyes, look for the star. Then open the ears and follow the angels’ advice, “Fear not, for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the LORD.”
Can you imagine their conversation when His parents told them His name?
“Yeshua” – He who saves
It is still the message. From the tiniest detail in the Christmas story, Our Father laid it all out for us on a peaceful night many years ago.
Dona Nobis Pacem.
Be blessed in His Hope and Peace for He draweth nigh once again.