The accounts of the birth of Jesus are filled with beauty and wonder. The shepherds, the heavenly choir, the angel messenger announcing to the shepherds the birth of the Savior. I love that part of the story. After scaring the living daylights out of the shepherds, the angel tells them not to be afraid, he has news of great joy–a child has been born in Bethlehem and not just any child, but the long-awaited Messiah. Knowing that the shepherds will want to go and see the child, the angel then tells them what to look for, a baby lying in a manger, who was wrapped in swaddling cloths (Luke 2:11-12).
Wait! Swaddling cloths? Let’s stop there for a minute. What exactly are swaddling cloths? I’ve read and heard this story so many times and never thought about that. So, I grabbed my dictionary and looked it up. Sure enough, it was right there, a listing for swaddling clothes. The definition is narrow strips of cloth wrapped around an infant to restrict movement.
So, Mary wrapped Jesus in these cloths to restrict movement, just the way nurses in a hospital wrap newborns tightly in a blanket. But it isn’t just to restrict movement, it’s to make the baby feel secure. After spending nine months wrapped in the warmth of a mother’s womb, the world a baby has been delivered into can be kind of scary and cold, and that’s why we wrap the baby up in that way.
When you think about it, isn’t that something we never outgrow? We all need to feel that kind of security, don’t we? But we won’t get it from being wrapped in swaddling cloths, but from being wrapped in God’s love. The world around us can be a scary place sometimes. But, we can take comfort in knowing that we have a heavenly Father who loves us so much and is always there to wrap that love around us and make us feel secure.
Thank You, heavenly Father for wrapping us in the swaddling cloths of Your great love.