“And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes…” ~ Luke 2:7a
As we discussed previously, the wrapping of the baby Jesus is swaddling clothes reminds us that He was born to die; that His greatest gift to us was His death on the cross for our sins. Nevertheless, there is still another lesson we can learn from swaddling clothes.
In Jesus’ time, Mothers wrapped (and some still do) their babies is swaddling clothes to restrict the movement of their babies’ limbs1. While no one is exactly sure why mothers swaddled their babies in ancient times, modern research has shown that swaddling (perhaps by mimicking the restriction of experienced in a mother’s womb) comforts the babies, thereby allowing them to rest better/longer than un-swaddled babies1.
For us, this is a beautiful picture of love. A swaddled baby Jesus reminds us of the restriction that our Saviour placed Himself under when He submitted to taking on the form of a man. Our God, The Word, became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14) so that He could come teach us with His life, save us with His death, and empower us with His resurrection (Philippians 3:9-10).
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” ~ Philippians 2:5-8
Jesus gave up His Glory to live a restricted life in a human body just because He loved us. Moreover, He confined Himself entirely to the will of the Father all the way to His death on the cross. Therefore, the questions with which must challenge ourselves are,
- “What are we willing to give up, because we love Him?”
- “What restrictions are we willing to live under so that we can serve Him?”
- “Are we willing to live within the confines of God’s will?”
True love of God and true love of our fellowman means we don’t live for ourselves; we don’t live as we wish.
“For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:13-15
True love means that, like Jesus, our lives are constrained by the Word and the Will of God. We relinquish our freedoms to serve the needs of our brothers and sisters. Yes, Jesus came to set us free; He came to set us free from sin and the curse of death to serve Him with pure hearts and joy-filled lives.
Just as a loving mother restricts her baby’s motion to help it to rest more comfortably, let us allow God to swaddle us with His Word so that we might find true peace. And may God swaddle us with His Will so that we will love and serve our fellowmen, putting their needs ahead of our own.