Has the Christmas story become so familiar that you skim over the Scriptures, reciting them in your head as you read and then moving on to the festivities of the season?
I think we’re all guilty from time to time. But as I study the Jewish context in which the New Testament was written, I’m discovering God was in the details, and I’m seeing the account in a fresh new way.
For instance, historians say the shepherds whom the angels appeared to the night of Jesus’ birth probably weren’t average shepherds. They were Levitical shepherds who tended the flock that was used for the sacrifices in the temple of Jerusalem.
They also believe there was a reason Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes and a reason why the angel went to the trouble to give the shepherds this information. This detail doesn’t seem important until you find out the significance of swaddling clothes.
As caretakers of sheep used for sacrifices, the shepherds had to make sure the newborn lambs were without spot or blemish. They did this by wrapping the clumsy little lambs in a special cloth to protect them when they fell or bumped up against rocks or jagged edges. The shepherds knew about swaddling clothes and why they were used. It was a detail God provided and one they understood.
God was in the details the night of our Savior’s birth. God was in the details when He created heaven and earth, and He is still in the details of our lives today.
Take time this Christmas to focus on the wonder of Jesus’ birth and the love God displayed.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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Beth Fortune has a passion for God’s Word and a desire to teach, lead, and encourage others. Whether through writing or speaking, she allows the heartbeat of the Father to pour through her words. She is an award winning writer whose articles have been published in magazines such as Focus on the Family’s “Thriving Family” magazine, “Reach Out Columbia,” and Dr. Charles Stanley’s “In Touch” magazine, as well as stories published in the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books and other anthologies. She lives in Greenville, SC, and serves with her husband who is the pastor of a church. You can visit her website at www.bethfortune.org.