This is my drawing I continue to layer with graphite(pencil) year after year around Christmas. (As an artist, I am usually working on something for Christmas by Thanksgiving.) I’ve thought of making Christmas cards from the original, however, a bit of Biblical understanding is needed to appreciate the piece. May I give you a tour of my drawing?
According to Jewish law, Mary would have been required to bring a sin offering, after forty days, because of Jesus’ birth. You see, the command in Leviticus 12, in the Torah, is that a woman who bears a son must wait 40 days before she is considered pure. Then she can go to the temple and offer a sacrifice for sin. In Luke 2:24, we read that she offered a sacrifice according to what is said in the law of the Lord, “A pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” This indicates they are a poor family, because the best possible sin offering was a lamb without spot or blemish.
Even if you don’t know the Jewish laws, you can find clues to their situation in the drawing. I drew the turtledoves, ready to be offered, and I suggested their poverty by the holes in their clothing.
Also in the drawing, we see Joseph with five shekels of silver. God, in the Torah, had said first-born sons belonged to Him – to serve Him. Then, at a later point in history, one tribe (Levites) of Israelites became priests to serve God in the temple, so the system of “buying” back the first-born son was instituted.
The parents of the firstborn males would come to the temple, and pay five shekels of silver to the Levites for their son, in a sense, buying their firstborn son back from the temple service. And the Levites would take this money and buy the things they needed to live and serve in the temple.
What is most important to me is this: Joseph and Mary had the items, turtledoves, coins, they needed to redeem Jesus and cover their sin. However, they were actually holding their eternal redemption, and yours and mine, as they held Jesus. Do you see the irony? Jesus had to be redeemed, yet, Jesus has come to redeem the world. Our Redemption!
Luke 2:22-23 Now when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were completed, they brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”)