The Law of the Lord
Key Bible Passage:
And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” (Luke 2:22-24)
Have you ever heard the USAF band singing the “Twelve Days of Christmas?” They are stunning! The song says that the gift on the second day of Christmas is two turtledoves, like in today’s Bible passage!
Luke 2 describes the temple in Jerusalem as Joseph and Mary brought their baby Jesus up “according to the custom of the law” (Luke 2:27). As devout Jews, Joseph and Mary would have circumcised eight-day-old Jesus as a sign of God’s covenant with Israel.
A covenant is a sacred promise to be faithful. (Marriage is an example of a covenant.) About a month later, after Mary was considered ritually clean, they would have brought the babe to the temple in Jerusalem for two reasons: to dedicate Christ to God and to confirm Mary’s “cleanliness.”
Jesus’s shed blood on the cross fulfilled the law so completely that ritual sacrifices for sin are no longer necessary. Christ is now our means of cleanliness before God. (Bible factoid: The first half of the Bible is referred to as the Old Covenant or Old Testament and the second half of the Bible, after Christ, is known as the New Covenant or New Testament.)
Mary’s purification, however, required a lamb and a dove for the wealthy, or two doves for the poor. The two turtledoves indicated Joseph and Mary’s poverty; yet they were rich in God.
What might the other eleven days in the song stand for? We’ll let you investigate!
- Enjoy listening to the USAF band singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”