I bet you didn’t know this about the manger that Jesus was laid in. Of course mangers are animal feeding troughs, but in ancient Israel they were made of stone. Not what you would see in a modern nativity scene. Not comfortable, but great for protection.
That’s why those who were experts in this matter, the priests would put their newborn lambs in them for protection. But not just any lamb, the unblemished perfect lambs that were used to sacrifice for sins.
And Bethlehem was famous for their unblemished lambs used for the sacrifice. But they had to be perfect, so they would wrap them tightly in cloth and lie them in the manger to keep them safe.
This is exactly why the only time mangers are mentioned in Jesus’ birth story is to shepherds.
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.Luke 2:12
These shepherds were extraordinary shepherds. They were called “Levitical Shepherds”. They had been chosen and trained to attend the flock of sheep that were to be used as sacrificial lambs in the Temple. Sacrificial lambs had to be “spotless and without blemish.”
So of course, the shepherds would have understood this powerful parallel. They knew what the cloth and the manger meant! This baby would be the perfect lamb of God. The messiah who would sacrifice His life for the sins of the whole world.
(You were redeemed) … with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.1 Peter 1:19
He wasn’t just a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger, He was God, perfect, sinless and holy. Humbling Himself to become the perfect sacrifice to reconcile us back to Himself.
As we enjoy beautiful lights and sounds and gifts this special time of the year. Let us not forget the miraculous beginnings of a Babe who was called Jesus or Immanuel (God with us). He became our Sacrificial Lamb and is now our Shepherd.
That perfect lamb is why we celebrate Christmas!!