Thinking of shepherds. I have mentioned before that they are favorite characters in the story. Not taking precedence over Jesus, of course.
They worked under the stars...the night watchmen over the flocks. I love the night sky and often wonder what it must have looked like. Was there a moon that night? I know there was a special star. Was it a star for that purpose only? Created to guide the shepherds and wise men? Was it a chilly night or balmy? Each trip to Israel has been in November, nights can be chilly, especially in the hills.
They strike me as tender hearted...perhaps it's the influence of the whole story.
They we're rugged, manly men, strong, capable, men of integrity. I think watching sheep was an important job. Not just anyone is cut out to spend long hours alone with only sheep for company.
Were they priestly shepherds watching the sheep that would be used soon for sacrifices? Praise you Father that we no longer have to offer up the sacrifice...for nothing could truly atone for our sins.
Shepherds would bind and swaddle newborn lambs to insure their legs were straight for no lame lambs could be used for the sacrifice. They were wrapped, swaddled, and laid in a manger until they calmed. After a short time they were loosed to return to momma.
Was this a sign to the shepherds to hurry? The angel said so...
Vs. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
The shepherds knew swaddling was brief; they must hurry to find the Christ Child.
Oh the picture of Jesus the Sacrificial Lamb from His beginning in the world!
Perhaps you'd like to watch this brief video of "Bethlehem, Beyond the Christmas Story".
The stream stopped before it was completely over but it provides a glimpse into the land now. The presumed birthplace is enshrined and gaudy but it is also protected. You will learn a little history that may help your understanding as you continue reading Luke 2.
I have never been to Bethlehem but I have stood in Efrata looking at the hills of Bethlehem on a moonlit night and it takes my mind to a night in ancient times. My imagination takes me to the hills with watchful shepherds and the lowing of sheep. Men, going about their business...men whose lives are never again the same...
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[a] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”