“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” ( Luke 2:7 KJV)
When I was in fourth grade, I had to memorize Luke 2:7-14. To this day I can still remember every King James Version word. It creates pictures in my mind of that night, so long ago.
I’ve never really given much thought to swaddling clothes. We can see in every painting or depiction of the scene, swaddling clothes was simply a beautiful, blue blanket. It was probably a gift at the baby shower.
Once again, my mind betrays me. I see through the lens of today’s culture. Today, swaddling is a technique of tightly wrapping a baby in a blanket. It is supposed to help the baby transition from the womb.
In the first century, swaddling clothes would have been strips of cloth wrapped around the baby’s limbs. It was believed they helped their arms and legs grow straight. The angels told the shepherds, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12 KJV)
God shows us two different pictures in those few words. Mary and Joseph were good parents, they wrapped Jesus with care so that he would grow straight. Then she lays him in a manger. A manger is just a fancy name for a trough. A trough, a dinner plate for the animals.
God wraps me with the same care in His Word. “I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight.” (Isaiah 45:2 KJV)
He wants to create a path for me, a straight way to follow.
The angels told the shepherds, “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12 KJV) The shepherds find Jesus exactly as the angels told them. Jesus is always found in places that aren’t expected.
He will always move outside what the religious teachers find “acceptable.” He still meets us today outside the walls of the expected or accepted.
Jesus didn’t come to be laid in a bassinet in the palace. God laid aside His divine nature and became fully human. He did not come and rule as a King. He chose to become like you and me. Jesus chooses to sit beside us. To live life with us. To share in our joy, our sorrow, and our hurt. Wherever you find yourself today, my friend, Jesus wants to wrap you in His love.