Swaddling Cloths

Published on Dec 13th, 2017 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Swaddling Cloths

Swaddling Cloths And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12. The practice of “swaddling” a baby is an ancient practice that is trying to make a comeback today. There is some controversy in the practice as some believe it helps prevent Sudden Infant Death while others argue that it may contribute to SID. Swaddling, in the time of Jesus, was when the mother, or midwife, would cut the umbilical cord, clean the baby off, and then takes strips of linen and snugly wrap the baby. Benefits of this practice were supposed to include: a slower transition from the snugness of the womb to the cruelty of the world, straighter limbs, warmth, and a feeling of protection. At the time of Jesus, it was something that good moms practiced.

This seems to be one of those details of Scripture with which we can speculate. Does it hold any significance? Is the swaddling a part of the sign to the shepherds? Believe it or not, there are many ideas concerning the swaddling. Some believe that the swaddling of Jesus was a shadow of his death. That Jesus would die and be wrapped in linen that would be left in the tomb as proof that he has risen from the dead. There is really nothing in the wording to lead us to this conclusion but it is interesting to think about. Others believe that the swaddling was part of the sign to the shepherds. The shepherds that were sent to Jesus would have been watching the sheep who were without blemish. These sheep were going to be offered in sacrifice to God. At times, shepherds would take the firstborn sheep and wrap it in cloths to keep it from becoming blemished. This sheep then became the unblemished lamb that was given in sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. Again, great thoughts but no definitive proof from the Word of God. The last thought that I found concerning the swaddling was that the priests of the temple used to cut up their old embroidered vestments, bless them, and set them aside for the birth of the new Davidic king. Zachary, the uncle of Jesus, took some of these cut up vestments, and this is what Mary used to wrap the newborn king in. Again, a great story, but no basis in Scripture.

So what are we left with? We are left with the fact that Jesus was wrapped in swaddling cloths. The common practice of the day that Luke thought important enough to mention. For my heart, I am reminded, once again of the humility of our Savior. Willing to place himself in the care of those that he created. Submitting to their ideas as to what is best for that newborn babe. Being eternal, omnipresent God, he now, not only submits to being in a human body but submits to being bound and unable to wiggle and squirm. He humbly accepts the imperfect protection and love from Mary and Joseph. He does all of this because he desires to be with us. I am so grateful that through his sacrifice and work on the cross that he continues to accept my imperfect expressions of love towards him.

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