Luke 2:12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
Today, when we consider swaddling clothes, we often think of something similar to a baby blanket. But what does the word "swaddling" mean? Consider the definition given in Webster's 1828 dictionary - SWAD'DLE - to bind, as with a bandage; to bind tight with clothes; used generally of infants; as, to swaddle a child. The question I now ask you is this: What was so prophetic then about the swaddling clothes?
These types of clothes were often used in bandaging the wounded and wrapping the dead. So, Jesus left heaven and when he took on the flesh of man, was immediately wrapped in these bandages. And what was the last thing He had on before He rose from the grave – bandages.
Luke 24:12 Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass
So, when Mary and Joseph bound baby Jesus tightly in the swaddling clothes, it was God’s way of pointing to the future and showing that He was coming the first time as the Suffering Saviour, the Ultimate and Final Sacrifice for Sins. It shows that He was sentenced to die for man ever before He was born. Remember – He had no bandages on before He came, nor after He left because the Sacrifice was complete!
He was given swaddling clothes…grave clothes…a death sentence…to start His earthly ministry – but He left death at the grave because He was the Ultimate conqueror of death, hell, and the grave! Those grave clothes represent our sin – and they were left dead in the grave - Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So, when you see a manger scene this Christmas season, remember that God Incarnate was born with a death sentence, as exhibited by the swaddling clothes that wrapped His body tight.