Suddenly, an Angel of the Lord appeared to *shepherds guarding their sheep and announced to them, “Today in Bethlehem, in the city of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord!
And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped in *swaddling (strips of cloth) cloth lying in a manger.” Luke 2: 9-12
So much to unpack but let me point out 5 things that you may not already know…
First of all, the Shepherds are not just any shepherds but *Levitical Shepherds (#1.). These shepherds are trained in the Jewish tradition, specifically for the responsibility of taking care of the lambs used for temple sacrifices in Jerusalem. The shepherds would bring the female sheep into ritually purified birthing caves. The Male (#2) lambs born, without spot or blemish, were then used for Passover Sacrifice for forgiveness of sin.
After birth, the male lambs would be bathed in a *salt solution (#3), dried and swaddled to be kept clean and spotless. During that time, old priestly garments were cut up into small pieces to be used for wicks to light (#4) the Menorah in the temple and re-used to wrap the sacrificial lambs at birth. Every morning, the Priest would change the wicks in the temple and replace them with a new one.
The angel tells the Shepherds exactly how to find the baby. You will recognize him by this sign:
You will find a *baby wrapped swaddling cloth lying in a manger. (#5) Jesus was cleansed, then *wrapped in the same garment.
In other words, when the Shepherds found baby Jesus lying in a birthing cave used for birthing sacrificial lambs, they knew He was the Messiah, He was probably cleansed as it was done in those days with salt to purify the lambs for sacrifice, He was wrapped in the pieces of old Priestly garments (Swaddling Clothes). Just as a lamb for slaughter. Ultimately, HE became the sacrificial lamb for the forgiveness of our sin.
When the Shepherds looked at Jesus lying in the manger, wrapped in old priestly garments, cut up to be used as a light then used to wrap a male sacrificial lamb, they saw their Savior who would be both the Lamb of God and The Light of the World.
The Messiah had come to save US!
The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world! John 1:29
This Christmas as you are putting up the tree, preparing for family gatherings and buying gifts. Remember the gift we were given. The gift of everlasting life. He came for You and I. To save us from world. Jesus came freely, knowing one day He would pay the ultimate price — His life for our sins.
That is Love!
“I AM the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Dear Father, Thank You for loving us. For giving us Jesus, Your son. As we celebrate Jesus’ birth, we can’t forget that He died for our sins — and is alive and calls us His own!
If you would like to learn more, check out the book; The Rock, the Road and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford with Rabbi Jason Sobel
Deb is passionate about Jesus and women’s ministry. She currently leads a women’s small group through her church, LCBC Waynesboro.
Deb has been married for 42 years to the love of her life, Rodney. They have awesome sons whom have beautiful wives. And they are blessed with eight amazing grandchildren.