Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Stories

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

Ruth writes:
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,
near Bethlehem
That Night;
but those
selected for the temple sacrifice;
theirs to atone for sins
they had not done.

How right the angels should appear
to them
That Night.

Those were no usual shepherds
there, but outcast shepherds
whose usual care
of special sheep
made it impossible to keep
Rabbinic law,
which therefore banned them.

How right the angels should appear
to them
That Night.
---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.


I Love Pretty Little Things said...

WOW! Who knew? This is such interesting information. God is such a god of Detail!!!
Can I link your blog to mine for my Sunday post?

Thanks for sharing this,

Dawn said...

Wonderful post.
And your pictures are absolutely amazing!!!!
God is amazing....don't you feel so loved by Him?!?:)))
Have a wonderful weekend....(what's left of it;)

Kessie said...

Oh wow, I never knew all that. That is really amazing, and also wonderful to know that God indeed cares for the outcasts.

Miss Debbie said...

Very special post! It was years ago, when I did the Beth Moore study on Moses that nothing God does is "insignificant" really hit home for me. When we studied about the the building of the tabernacle.... every single, tiny detail had a purpose and a meaning. Everything represented God and His character or His plan.So it is with the Christmas story as well. What a mighty God we serve!

TexWisGirl said...

That's neat that the sheep and shepherds were indeed special in very different ways. :) said...

Love this because I love studying the Jewish traditions and feast. I have a post on our Seder meal this past year. I can't wait until my fourteen year gets up so he can read this also. So much to be learned through all of this...thanks so much, you started my Sunday morning out with a full spirit of worship. can you pass some of your gifts on to me...writing, your wonderful art...hey, I know..I need you teaching skills to get me through a couple more years of home schooling...
Merry Christmas my blogging love you!!

Thistle Cove Farm said...

But Kim...there are NO ordinary sheep! -smile- Just ask my flock, they all think they are God's gift to me and you know what? They are right!
Great post and enjoyable, thank you and
Merry Christmas!