One of the earliest poems I recollect memorizing as a child was: Mary had a little lamb; its fleece was white as snow… I was christened in the Catholic Church (my grandmother named me after St. Christopher!) where the image of the holy “Mother and Child” was engraved on my mind. However, only as a teenager I realized that in a real sense the whole Bible and its offer of salvation was about Mary’s Lamb– God’s Son, the world’s Savior. Christmas celebrates Mary’s boy child Jesus Christ whose birthday was anticipated in the Old Testament, announced by angels, attended by poor shepherds and wealthy magi and adorned by the Star of Bethlehem
This Lamb was prophesied at the first mention of the gospel (proto evangelion; Gen.3:15), remarkably typified at every Jewish Passover feast (Ex.12f), personified in God’s promise of the Messiah (Isa.9; 53), identified by John the Baptist on earth, magnified by thousands in heaven’s choirs (Rev.2:12) and glorified by Almighty God for all time and eternity (Rev.22:11). I shudder to think that all this once depended on the yieldedness of a peasant teenager (a bit older to Alethea, our 13 year-old). Mary was “expecting Jesus” but little did she expect to find God in her womb and soon see God in a cradle, God among sinners and God on a cross! The Bible has more to say about Jesus the Lamb who in the fullness of time God sent forth and Mary brought forth.
The Expectation of the Lamb: Where is the lamb? (Gen.22:7)
Someone has aptly pointed out regarding the Bible in two testaments that the New is in the Old concealed; and the Old in the New revealed. For me, the Old Testament may be summed up in one question Isaac asked Abraham when taken to be sacrificed on Mount Moriah: “Where is the lamb?” Abraham’s answers became Israel’s consolation and the hope of all the earth: “God will provide himself a Lamb”. God’s people sacrificed countless lambs that at best covered sins, but they eagerly awaited God’s spotless Lamb
The Exposition of the Lamb: Watch the lamb take sins away! (Jn.1:29)
God had prepared John the Baptist as a forerunner to identify to Israel and declare that Jesus born of Mary by the Holy Spirit was indeed God’s Lamb, who once-and-for-all would take away the sins of the whole world. Jesus’ incarnation was a necessity and precisely how our Creator could be among his creatures and the Infinite One became an infant. God the Son as a sacrificial lamb laid aside his majesty to share in our misery, exchanged his riches for ridicule, left his throne to die on a tree. Behold the lamb!
The Exaltation of the Lamb: Worthy is the lamb once slain! (Rev.5:12)
We can only celebrate Christmas because we already know about Good Friday and Easter. Unlike other lambs, Jesus the Lord of life, willing laid down his life therefore God raise him and has highly exalted him that at his name every knee will one day bow and every tongue confess: Jesus Christ is Lord. All heaven will declare this enthroned Lamb as worthy to take all power, wealth, wisdom, honor, glory and blessing! The miracle of Christmas is that God’s Lamb offers himself not as God-Above-Us but as God-Among-Us. The mystery of Christmas is that the exalted lamb is God-With-Us and, by his Spirit, God-Within-Us! Come, let us worship the Lamb of glory!
Mary had a Little lamb, He came on Christmas Night
She laid him in a manger bed this king of light and life
He ate with poor and sinful folk; he claimed he was God’s Son
This made the leaders plot the death of this holy sinless One
He came to give us Joy and Peace, to take away our sin
He heals the sick and clams the storm and ushers justice in
What makes the lamb love Mary so and all the world beside?
By grace alone he chose his own, for them he lived and died.
We too must love the lamb you know, his blood will wash us clean
Our words must show that we are his for our lives by all are seen
One day this lamb will come again more lion than a lamb
Defeat his foes, reward his own, Oh praise the day he came!
More recently I came across another poem on Mary’s Lamb by the Rosenthals with references that make a good Bible study:
Mary had the little Lamb, who lived before His birth;
Self-existent Son of God, from Heaven He came to Earth. (Micah 5:2)
Mary had the little Lamb; see Him in yonder stall –
Virgin-born Son of God, to save man from the fall. (Isaiah 7:14)
Mary had the little Lamb, obedient Son of God;
Everywhere the Father led, His feet were sure to trod. (John 6:38)
Mary had the little Lamb, crucified on the tree.
The rejected Son of God, He died to set men free. (1 Peter 1:18)
Mary had the little Lamb — men placed Him in the grave.
Thinking they were done with Him; to death He was no slave! (Matt. 28:6)
Mary had the little Lamb, ascended now is He;
All work on Earth is ended, our Advocate to be. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Mary had the little Lame — mystery to behold!
From the Lamb of Calvary, a Lion will unfold. (Revelation 5: 5, 6)
When the Day Star comes again, of this be very sure:
It won’t be Lamb-like silence, but with the Lion’s roar. (Ps 2:12, Rev 19:9-16)