Saturday, December 18, 2010
When I first became a Christian some dear friends
invited us to their home for a Passover Seder. I was
so changed by that experience, it became very important
to understand the gospel, from a Jewish perspective.
I love reading the different things in scripture that I miss
as a gentile but if I were Jewish I would understand.
I am taking this Christmas story from a book called "A
Quiet Knowing Christmas, Ruth Bell Graham"
" And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping
watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon
them, the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for , behold, I bring you good tidings of
great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city
of David a Savior, Which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, The shepherds
said to one another , Let us go unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass,
Which the Lord had made know unto us. Luke 2: 3-19
Those Were No Ordinary Sheep
Years ago, I read the following in The Life and Times Of Jesus the Messiah
by Alfred Edersheim:
Jewish tradition may here prove both illustrative and helpful. That the
Messiah was to be born in Bethlehem was a settled conviction. Equally so
was the belief, that He was to be revealed from Migdal Eder,"the tower
of the flock." This Migdal Eder was not the watch-tower for the ordinary flocks
which pastured on the barren sheep ground beyond Bethlehem, but lay close to the town,
on the road to Jerusalem. A passage in the Mishnah leads to the conclusion that the flocks which
pastured there were destined for Temple sacrifices, and accordingly that the shepherds who
watched over them were not ordinary shepherds. The latter were under the ban of Rabbinism,
on account of their necessary isolation from religious ordinances, an their manner of life,
which rendered strict legal observance unlikely, if not absolutely impossible...Of the
deep symbolic significance of such a coincidence, it is needless to speak.
Ruth writes, " I was so touched by the fact that these were no ordinary sheep, I wrote the following:
Those were no ordinary sheep...
no common flock,
huddled in sleep
among the fields,
the layered rocks,
selected for the temple sacrifice;
theirs to atone for sins
they had not done.
How right the angels should appear
Those were no usual shepherds
there, but outcast shepherds
whose usual care
of special sheep
made it impossible to keep
which therefore banned them.
How right the angels should appear
---Ruth Bell Graham---
One of the things that I love about the Bible and God is
that nothing is ever insignificant. People who might be
forgotten by the world, are remembered by God.
I have always wondered why it was that the Angels
appeared to the shepherds in the fields. I think of Jesus
the baby being born in the winter, but this would not have maybe
been the case, he might have been born in the spring when
the sheep would have been outside waiting for the Passover.
Which explains why it might not have been cold in the manger
and why Mary and Joseph were traveling by foot and donkey.
In Jerusalem it would be very hot in the summer, but maybe beautiful
in the spring.
From the very first Passover that I attended, I was reminded that
we see a baby born in a manger, but God sent His son to be savior of the world.
Just some things that I found today looking for a Christmas story.
I thought you might like it as much as I did.