And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Yesterday, during our Sunday morning worship service, there was a manger scene in the background. As I was looking at that picture, I realized that Jesus was given a mantle at birth. And that mantle was swaddling clothes.
Last night, I found myself hungry to know, why the swaddling clothes? It’s mentioned twice in Luke chapter 2.
The only other references to swaddling are found in Lamentations 2:22 and then in Ezekiel 16:4. It’s in Ezekiel that Israel, God’s chosen people, are described as being un-swaddled, which speaks metaphorically of total abandonment.
And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.
So what then does it mean, that our Lord was swaddled. What is this sign?
Wikepedia says this of swaddling practices…
Swaddling is an age-old practice of wrapping infants snugly in swaddling cloths, blankets or similar cloth so that movement of the limbs is tightly restricted. Swaddling bands were often used to further restrict the infant. It was commonly believed that this was essential for the infants to develop proper posture.
Swaddling clothes described in the Bible consisted of a cloth tied together by bandage-like strips. After an infant was born, the umbilical cord was cut and tied, and then the baby was washed, rubbed with salt and oil, and wrapped with strips of cloth. These strips kept the newborn child warm and also ensured that the child’s limbs would grow straight.
Perhaps the swaddling signifies that He was the Redeemer and being restored to His creation. Bound to it.
What a beautiful picture of God With Us! Emmanuel. We are not abandoned.
The Lord came and was swaddled as a sign that God will never leave us nor forsake us. He was bound from neck to foot, just as we were meant to be. His body would be perfect in posture. His limbs, straight. No deformities. This is the picture of the church that would come. This is us. We are that body.
It also speaks of the restrictions placed on Him when came as a man. Everything had to come through the means that was available to his earthly form. What does that say to us? If He was restricted as we are and yet could accomplish God’s will here on this earth, so can we. Our earthly body, bound from birth, does not abandon heavenly reality. Nor does it stay our hand or keep our feet. He has given us proper posture.
Thank you Father, for a swaddled body. That it would be a sign to us of the body that would never be abandoned.
(For more on the subject of mantles, visit Melissa Flores at www.definingwords.com! Melissa has authored a book on this very subject, Own Your Mantle. You can find it there and info throughout her blog as well. )
I certainly welcome any revelation you might have on this subject! I invite you to join the conversation and supplicate with me on this subject as we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.