Two Turtledoves

If you read Christ's Nativity story this season, you may choose Luke 2:1-20.  If so, you miss the following verses: (22 - 24)

22 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 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord") 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons." 

It struck me 'what is the significance of 2 Turtledoves?'  Obviously I know the song 12 Days of Christmas, and so this phrase jumps out at us.

It rings back to Hebrew tradition (on which I am no expert) in which a sacrifice must be made much like we may do a modern day baby dedication.  Turtledoves are interesting for 2 reasons.  They were easier to come by than pigeons, because they were plentiful.  Which makes them a humble sacrifice, even the poor could find and sacrifice turtledoves.

But also, 

From its habit of pairing for life, and its fidelity to its mate, the turtle-dove was a symbol of purity and an appropriate offering. 

Because of their behavior, and the PAIR being sacrificed, they represent a covenant, a 2 person promise relationship between the child and God.  One of purity and fidelity.  Christ's parents were committing him to God, in a humble way, and in a way that was a binding promise.

Having researched that recently, the song will never mean the same to me when I sing 'two turtledoves'…..

I've been a Christian for 36 years.  And yet the Word of God constantly is holding new treasures for me to discover!  I am thinking this Christmas about the people in PNG who can read the Nativity Story for the first time in their heart language… ever.  I've read it every Christmas for my entire life, but this year, will be their first year!

That is amazing to me, and I'm thankful to God for the gift of all of you, who encourage us and help us in the mission of getting God's Word to the folks in PNG.

Merry Christmas to you!

-Chad (and family)