Christmas was nearly a week ago. We don’t exactly know what was happening one week into Jesus’ life. Maybe the shepherds were there, or maybe they had come and gone. Perhaps the innkeeper finally found them a room. There are various ideas about when the Magi showed up, and it would be a few days before Simeon and Anna saw Jesus as His parents took Him to the temple. Aside from nursing, sleeping, and doing the few things babies can do, the only thing we know for sure is Jesus was wrapped in strips of cloth, swaddled by his mother.
WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL?
This may not seem like a big deal, but consider what the angels said to the Shepherds:
And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe
wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger. — Luke 2:12
Lying in a feeding trough for animals would be noteworthy since most newborns have a more dignified crib, but consider this: Most babies would be wrapped in cloth. So, why would the angel bother to mention that as a “sign?”
JESUS WAS WRAPPED IN CLOTHS AGAIN
If you know the answer, please let me know, because I’m not entirely sure. But let me suggest one idea. God noted the cloths because they foreshadow significant cloths from another event in Jesus' life. If you remember, Mary was not the last one to wrap Jesus in bands of cloth. After the crucifixion, His body was again wrapped in cloths, only this time for His burial.
So it happens that as a baby and a grown man, Jesus was wrapped in cloth. And both times, it was a sign! On the morning of the first Christmas, it was announced that the cloths wrapped around Jesus were part of the sign. On the morning of the first Easter, there was no announcement, but the only things found in His tomb were the burial cloths. The cloths were the first sign of the resurrection. The clothes that had wrapped the body were there, but the body was not! They were in the right place, but Jesus was gone!
EXTRAORDINARY OUT OF THE ORDINARY
In the time of Jesus, it was completely normal for babies to be swaddled and for bodies to be wrapped in cloths for burial. In the case of Jesus, the most common of materials, used in the most ordinary of ways, became signs. The first set of cloths were the sign that the Savior had been born and the second showed He had accomplished the salvation He was born to provide. The cloths told the shepherds that this was the baby they were looking for. The cloths told those who came to the tomb that this same baby had taken our sin, defeated death, and was indeed the Savior, King, and Lord.
God often uses common things in ordinary ways to reveal His wonders. As our lives go on from another Christmas, let’s not overlook the ordinary things that reveal to us the glory of our Savior.
by Jimmy Aycock