Surely when the angels proclaimed that the shepherds would, “recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12) it was the manger-sign that was so unusual, right? I mean, really, shepherds who “keep watch at night” saw babies born in stables all the time–but not human babies! I imagine these rough, outdoorsmen were amazed at this Christ child’s birth; after all, when there’s an emergency birth in an unusual place today it makes headline news! Why wouldn’t the Bethlehem shepherds leave that stable and share the “glad tidings” over the hills and everywhere?
Luke 2: 17-20 Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
But what about the other sign? Was the newborn’s wardrobe really that big of a deal? I think so! Yea, wrapping a newborn baby snugly is proper What2Wear fashion, but if we look at theses strips of cloth through the eyes of the shepherds, we see three significant reasons why what Jesus wore was a sign of who He was:
- These “strips of cloth” were saturated in oil and burned for light.
- Jewish travelers wore these cloths around their waist when traveling in case they were to die along the way; they were used to wrap the body for burial. (Perhaps it was Joseph’s waist band that Jesus was wrapped in?)
- Shepherds would wrap newborn lambs in these strips of cloth IF they were the firstborn male and had no spot or blemish. Other lambs were put out to pasture right away, but these special lambs were set apart to be kept pure and secure because they would be sacrificed as an atonement for the sins of God’s people.
Yes, Jesus’ wardrobe was very significant. I’m sure Mary would have preferred to swaddle her baby in a beautiful soft blanket and lay Him in a crib, but sometimes we need to trust that God is doing something more significant than we can understand at the moment. The shepherds understood the signs, and all those who heard about it marveled, but Mary–whether she understood the signs or not–pondered them in her heart.
If your life is feeling chaotic and confusing this Christmas, I encourage you to do like the virgin mother, and simply take it all in with great expectation. Your circumstances may not make sense right now, but one day they will and then you, too, will marvel at how God was actually keeping His promises!
Catrina Welch is an inspirational author and speaker whose personal experience with overcoming rejection, betrayal and loss–as well as her expertise as a cosmetologist, image consultant and Biblical life-coach–is empowering women to BE and LET BE.
Her latest book, CONFIDENT BEAUTY: Reflecting the One Who Made You, with the Images in your Mirror and in your Soul, is now available in your favorite bookstores. Autographed copies of all her books are available on her website at www.CatrinaWelch.com