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In the book of Leviticus, God provided specific instructions for the purification offering after childbirth. According to Leviticus 12:6, “When the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest, at the door of the Tent of Meeting, a year-old lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove, for a sin offering.” This ritual was to be performed on the 40th day after giving birth to a male child and on the 80th day after giving birth to a female child, symbolizing the mother’s purification.

However, understanding that not all could afford a lamb, God made provisions for those who were less affluent. Leviticus 12:8 states, “If she cannot afford a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering. The priest shall make atonement for her, and she shall be clean.” This allowance ensured that every mother, regardless of her financial status, could fulfill the purification rites.

The Example of Joseph and Mary

This provision is highlighted in the New Testament when Joseph and Mary presented Jesus at the Temple. As narrated in Luke 2:24, they offered “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons,” indicating their humble financial status. Joseph, a carpenter, was likely out of work due to their temporary stay in Bethlehem for the census, making a lamb unaffordable. Despite knowing Jesus was the Son of God, they adhered to the Law of Moses, fulfilling every requirement for purification.


The story of Joseph and Mary’s obedience teaches us profound lessons. Despite their unique situation and divine knowledge, they respected and observed the religious traditions of their time. Their actions led to remarkable events, such as the prophecies of Simeon and Anna, who recognized Jesus as the Messiah (Lk 2:25-38).

As Christians, we are reminded to respect and uphold our religious traditions. These practices, rooted in Scripture and historical faith, connect us to our heritage and to the broader community of believers. Observing these traditions is not just about adherence to rules but about expressing our faith and humility before God.

In our walk of faith, let us be inspired by Joseph and Mary’s example. They showed humility, obedience, and reverence for God’s commandments, even in their simplicity. This narrative encourages us to embrace our religious practices with sincerity, recognizing that every act of obedience is significant in God’s eyes.

Furthermore, this passage invites us to reflect on the inclusivity of God’s provisions. Just as He made allowances for those who could not afford a lamb, God’s grace extends to all, regardless of their socioeconomic status. Our faith communities should reflect this inclusivity, offering support and acceptance to everyone.

Let us strive to live faithfully, upholding our traditions, and embracing the lessons of humility and obedience exemplified by Joseph and Mary. In doing so, we honor God and affirm our commitment to His word. “Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or by letter from us” (2 Thes 2:15). May we continue to respect and cherish the traditions that nurture our faith and strengthen our community in Christ.

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