Swaddling Significance

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Someone asked me years ago, what one should say to the parents of an ugly baby.  I admitted I did not know.  She said you simply say; “Aren’t all babies precious!”

I love babies!  And they are precious . . . precious gifts of God, that is.

This CHRISTmas, I will not be celebrating the birth of a child so much as I will be, once again, awed by the Incarnation of my Savior and King!  Jesus Christ . . . Jesus, the Word, the Logos, the visible, physical, divine expression of God.  God of very God!  “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)

Emmanuel, God with us!  This is more than the birth of a child, (though that was awesome and miraculous), this was the coming of God to be one of us, identify with us, and to redeem us through His determined, planned Cross of Calvary!

“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 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 2:1-7)

I remember with great joy and awe when our first child, Chris, was born.   I took great pleasure and pride in the loving skill with which my precious wife cared for this tiny creature which was scary fragile to my eyes.   She tenderly cleaned and dressed him in fresh soft gowns or jammies; every move and touch were a ballet of compassion.  Then she completed the dance movement by heart-felt and the snug wrapping of this tiny breath of God in a blanket; making sure both arms and legs were unable to move.  My first observation and feelings were that this seemed cruel and confining.  But she eased my heart- pulsation through explaining that she was duplicating the feeling of security that he felt while in the womb—Swaddling clothes.

In the same way, swaddling clothes are cloths, and or, cloth strips used in the tradition of swaddling, which was in actual fact, wrapping a newborn snugly in cloth.  This was meant to help the baby progress comfortably from the womb (a very snug and secure home for 9 months) to this new world.

In Luke 2, we see this was young Mary’s maternal instinct: “. . . 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.

Mary was a devoted and caring mother.  

As the angel announced the birth of the Messiah to shepherds watching sheep in the countryside, he speaks of swaddling clothes as a sign that they had found Him.

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the LORD12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”  (Luke 2:11-12)

When our Messiah came into our world, as we came into the world, God made sure He was given to predetermined reliable, adoring parents who provided His every need.   And so, their Baby, God’s Son, was wrapped securely according to the norm of the times, showing the tenderness of His mother.

Have you ever wondered why Luke made a special point or significance of the swaddling clothes?   There are some theories made by some students of the Word.    Some have proposed that the focus on swaddling clothes were a type of prophetic reference to Jesus’ burial wrappings.  The word sparganoo is the root word in the Greek which is used for “swaddling clothes,” (“to clothe in strips of cloth”).    However, it was never found to be used to refer to a burial cloth.    In Jesus’ burial, we see a reworking with the phrase “wrapped in linen cloth,” and the use of different Greek words in reference to the binding.

For me, the swaddling clothes could anticipate Jesus’ death and burial; the gifts of the wise men seem to fit the foretelling of this purpose for which the Messiah came into the world— “to save His people from their sin.”

Beloved friend, I want you to have a great Christmas, but remember, Jesus did not only come to be a precious baby boy, He came to suffer and die for your sins.   He paid your price!   When you look at the manger, see the Cross!   He is Savior!   As you gaze toward the Christ-child of the Nativity this Christmas with the eyes of your heart, don’t forget to behold His glory!   It’s there!   Embrace this Child for all He’s worth!  Merry CHRISTmas!

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Jerry McCullah has been involved in various prayer ministries since 1993 and is currently pastor of Green Valley Bible Chapel of Green Valley, Ca. As CSBC Prayer Consultant, Jerry McCullah is available to assist churches and associations in the training and development of personal prayer and prayer ministries, through consultations, seminars, concerts of prayer, and prayer revivals. As Impact Prayer International President, Jerry McCullah is able to work across denominational and international borders to do the same. Jerry: God has called me to encourage Christians into a more intimate relationship with Jesus Christ; one that is real and personal, which comes through a life of prayer. The world needs praying people! God seeks praying people! I am available to assist your churches in the training and development of a personal prayer life, and church prayer renewal, through seminars, prayer retreats, concerts of prayer, and prayer revivals. My passion is to excite Christians to the possibilities prayer opens up before them. With God all things are possible! Would you give me the honor to work with you to the fulfillment of these words: “Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven . . . deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6:10,13)? Let’s schedule something for your precious people! Contact Info: 15724 Calle Hermosa Green Valley, Ca. 91390 661-270-9671 https://www.facebook.com/jerry.mccullah https://jerrymccullah.wix.com/ipi-prayerconsulting

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