96. Luke 2:12
This will be the sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped snugly in cloth and lying in a manger. —Luke 2:12
The angels called it a sign: “This will be a sign for you.” In other words, they were telling the shepherds how to recognize the Savior. He’d be wrapped tightly in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger—probably in a cave. The likelihood of finding any baby lying in an animal’s feeding bin was remote. So finding Him just as the angels described Him would be an indication their message was true in its totality.
According to the book The New Manners and Customs of the Bible, the clothes in which Jesus was wrapped were commonly referred to as swaddling clothes because they were like bandages, tightly wrapped around a newborn child to hold his legs and arms still. This is still widely practiced in some countries, as I’ve seen myself on overseas trips. In some cultures infants are wrapped up papoose-style. I used to think it cruel until I recalled that a newborn infant was pretty tightly contained in the womb, too.
But there’s something more here.
It’s impossible to think of these words of Luke 2:12 without remembering the burial of Christ, when He was again tightly swathed in white reams of cloth and laid to rest in a cave under the watchful eyes of angels. The parallels between His birth and His burial are remarkable. Swaddled in white strips. In a cave. Resting. Redemptive. His mother watching. Angels hovering near.
And He didn’t stay in either cave very long.
Bethlehem and Jerusalem are only about five miles apart, and the events were separated by only thirty-three years. But what mystery! Who can comprehend the Almighty lying in a manger, or the God of glory in a tomb? As Martin Luther said, “No other God have I but Thee; born in a manger, died on a tree.”
Add verses 13 and 14 to your memory work, and you’ll forever know the entire angelic carol, as recorded in the Gospel of Luke: Suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors!”
Luke’s Gospel was written in Greek; but in the mid-300s, verse 14 was translated in Latin by St. Hilary of Poitiers, and the phrase Hilary created has become famous:
Gloria, in excelsis Deo!
It became a widely used doxology in the Eastern Church where early Byzantine monks reportedly used it as an exclamation of praise not just at Christmas but every morning. And why not? Every day we should say, “This is the day the Lord has made!” Every morning we can truly proclaim, Gloria, in excelsis Deo! Glory to God in the highest!
He looked into our globe and saw our grief; we look into His manger and see His answer.—Rob Morgan
100 Bible Verses Everyone Should Know by Heart.
#Praise The Lord
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