Friday, December 25th
While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in (swaddling) cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Luke 2:6-7 (NASB)
Today's thoughts from today's verses:
Merry Christmas! Today we celebrate precisely what today's verses record for us, the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior. We are given some of the details here for how Jesus was handled immediately after being born. We are told he was wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger. Countless insights into the significance of these details have been put forth ever since they were carefully recorded for us by Luke (Luke 1:1-4). Earlier in our Christmas series we looked at the account of the shepherds that comes later in the Luke 2 story. It is particularly noteworthy that the angel said that these same details would be a sign for them. The angel said the to shepherds, "you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
The question is this: how were these details a sign for the shepherds. Were they just signs to help them find the baby who was born. The words of the angel help them to know they should look in a stable, but Jesus being wrapped in cloths and lying in manger is more about declaring who he is than helping them find the baby. Remember, the words of the angel to the shepherds just before these words about a sign. The angel said, "Behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. The suggestion is that they will know that these words are true because of the fact that the baby is wrapped in cloths and is lying in a manger. In other words, these two things signal (sign) that this baby is the Savior of the world.
The following explanation was posted online by Bob Lewis and helps us understand why these two things were a sign for the "shepherds" in particular: "The shepherds would take the firstborn of the flock for the sin sacrifice offering. To stop the newborn lamb from injuring itself so it would be without blemish they would wrap them in swaddling clothes and usually lay them in a manger until they were stronger and ready to go to the mother. Thus the sign of the firstborn son wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger was of special significance to the shepherds, who would share this incredible sign with others who could understand it!" We like finding hidden meanings in written material but the probability that these insights are on target is compelling.
We are told that Mary gave birth to her firstborn Son. Many years later John the Baptist said of Jesus Christ, "Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. When the shepherds first laid eyes of this special baby you can be sure they saw him as "the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world" because of these two special signs that were uniquely suited to them as shepherds of sheep. Truly, the birth of Christ is good news of great joy for "all" the people. We celebrate today, the fact that in the city of David there was born for us a Savior (the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world) who is Christ the Lord.
Today's prayer response from today's thoughts:
What will be your prayer response to God today as you celebrate the birth of Christ, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world?
Posted on Fri, December 25, 2015
by Alan Porter