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Unwrapping the Nativity | Exploring the Symbols and Significance of Jesus’ Birthplace

Unwrapping the Nativity | Exploring the Symbols and Significance of Jesus’ Birthplace

Several years ago, I took part in a captivating Bible study titled “The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi” by Kathie Lee Gifford and Rabbi Jason Sobel. The tagline perfectly captures the essence: “Come to the land where it all began.” 

I gleaned much from this study, and it sparked a fascination within me that I find myself revisiting every Christmas. It’s my hope that you, too, will find it intriguing. 

— The Rock represents Jesus, the foundation of our belief. The Road symbolizes the Holy Land, where the journey of faith unfolded. And the Rabbi embodies the word of God, the guiding light illuminating the path.

— It’s important to remember that the Bible was written by and for Middle Easterners in Jesus’ time. This context is often lost on our Westernized minds. 

— The Old Testament was penned in ancient Hebrew, while the New Testament was written in Koine Greek, the common language of that period.

— Interestingly, what we believe to be a stable in Jesus’ nativity story was actually a cave in the shepherds’ fields. 

— These weren’t ordinary shepherds; they were Levitical shepherds, responsible for tending the lambs destined for sacrifice. Even today, shepherds in the region use caves for birthing, not stables as our Western perspective might imagine. 

— The significance of the cave goes deeper. Since the lambs were meant to be pure offerings, the birthing caves were kept ritually clean. Many of these male lambs were ultimately sacrificed during Passover. 

— With no room at the inn, Mary and Joseph found refuge in one of these caves near Bethlehem. 

— Connecting back to the shepherds, we see another layer of symbolism. Newborn lambs were wrapped in swaddling cloths to protect them. This image is mirrored in the scene of Jesus found in a manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths inside a cave. Just as the cloths ensured the lambs’ purity, they foreshadowed Jesus’ role as the ultimate sacrifice, “the Lamb of God.” 

Jesus came to offer a new covenant, one sealed with his infinite commitment to humanity, even unto death.

But there’s more to discover… 

Linking up this month with these AMAZING Blog Hop/Link-Up party hostesses! 

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4 thoughts on “Unwrapping the Nativity | Exploring the Symbols and Significance of Jesus’ Birthplace

  1. What a neat experience. Thanks for sharing it. I think you bring up an excellent point that I think is often overlooked–we should always take into consideration the context in which the Bible was written. Things that seem “weird” to our 2000s Western cultures may have a unique purpose or meaning that we can miss if we don’t know the context. (And, conversely, having been translated hundreds of times, keeping in mind that something may have been lost in translation is a good idea, too.) Looking deeper is always a good idea, I think.

    I had never thought of the Rock of our Salvation having been born… in a rock! That’s so neat. Thank you for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #18 linkup. Hope to see you there next time as well.

  2. Amazing and well said. Very interesting that you reference the stable as being a cave in those days. I will have to revisit and try and work through this again, but the fact that He is our Rock and Salvation and born in a carve does give it a totally different perspective.
    Thank you for visiting and sharing your links with us at SSPS #291. See you again on Monday, January 8th, 2024.

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