Many of us recall those 'hog-killing days' on the farm. My daddy always chose the coldest days to perform this annual 'ritual'. It really involved several neighboring families, taking many folks to 'get the job done'. A lot of chores needed to be done -barrels buried at an angle to scould the hogs; washtubs and buckets collected for cleaning and separating the meat, sharpened knives, single-tree & chain to hoist the hogs to drain, washed and dressing. When the day was over, there would be meat everywhere.
Chitterlings, hams for the smoke house, hog-head cheese to make, pig feet to pickle and a score of other meat-pieces to handle or preserve. Cracklings would be made, lard prepared for future use, and 101 other chores to do. For many of our families, all of this predated home freezers; therefore, much cooking and canning had to be done immediately. Big operation for sure! So when someone uses the expression "it's cold enough to butcher hogs in here", they are referring to the colds days that were reserved for this event.
Now, parallel this with the sacrificial system used by Moses and the Children of Israel as the young country was being birthed. Through the Wilderness, moving toward the Promised Land, they often stopped and offered sacrifices to God. Leviticus reveals God's instructions on grain and animal sacrifices. Chapter 3 gives a clear picture of how the sacrifices were to be prepared to be acceptable to the Lord.
"If a goat or lamb is used as an offering, the man who brings it shall lay his hand upon its head
and kill it at the entrance of the Tabernacle; the priests hall throw the blood against the sides
of the altar, and shall offer upon the altar the fat, the tail removed close to the backbone, the
fat covering the internal organs, the two kidneys with the loin-fat on them, and the gall bladder,
as a burnt offering to the Lord."
After the Temple was built (by Solomon) in Jerusalem, at feast and festival times, all were required to come and offer sacrifice - many requiring animals. This was done as reminders of what the Lord had done for them in the past.
But with the coming of the Messiah upon the scene, the Jewish sacrificial system was replaced by the "perfect sacrifice" -Jesus. The New Covenant no longer required the people to bring grain, fowl, or animals to the Temple to be sacrificed. Jesus satisfied God's requirement as payment for man's sin. "Once for all" the price had been paid; the veil in the Temple was ripped from bottom to top when Jesus died on the cross. Man now has full access to God the Father though His Son -Jesus, the risen Savior. No more bloody sacrifices; obedience to God's revelations through Jesus Christ is the demanded sacrifice now. (Hebrews 7-11; Romans 3-8; and many other NT passages).
Perhaps if we would read through the Old Testament laws on animal sacrifice, we would have a better sense of the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf. What a great time to renew our commitment and obedience to Him as we begin another New Year.