09 Dec A Christmas Reminder
Read Luke 2:8-16
Thought for the Day: Jesus is Lord… even at His birth!
The sheep being watched outside of Bethlehem the night Jesus was born were not ordinary lambs. While other shepherds tended sheep for wool, those visited by the angels were in charge of raising and protecting the very sheep which were sacrificed at the Temple. In Jewish society, there was nothing more important than bringing forth an appropriate offering to God. When the Israelites lived nomadic lives in the past, this was easy as sheep were commonplace and traveled with the people. However, when the Israelites began settling in towns and cities, the people relied on shepherds to follow the Old Testament laws to prepare their temple sacrifices. When it came time for Passover, families relied on these sheep in the fields near Bethlehem.
The night that Jesus was born, the very shepherds who tended the lambs being prepared for temple sacrifice came to visit the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. One of those shepherds may have even brought a young lamb being prepared for temple sacrifice with him as he visited Jesus in the stable. We often picture Jesus as a baby in a manger, a preacher teaching crowds, or a really calm guy on a boat calming the seas during a terrible storm. The lambs that were out on the hillside near Bethlehem remind us that it wasn’t just any baby lying in the manger that first Christmas. He was the One who was given for us as the perfect atonement for our sins.
Each end of a calendar year reminds us to have patience and strength for what will come next. Hopefully, the last few have reminded us of the importance of community and the value of family. But, we don’t need anything else to remind us of the amazing gift God has given us in His Son, Jesus. Instead, each time we see lambs in a Nativity this December, let’s remember that Jesus is the Lamb of God. It is just as we affirm in the song “Silent Night”: Jesus is Lord at Thy birth!
Pastors Stan and David