February 13, 2012
She brought forth her firstborn son,
and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes
and laid Him in a manger.
We are all familiar with the narrative of the birth of the Lord Jesus. The outside place, the manger, the visit of the shepherds, the heavenly hosts raising their anthem of praise – all these details and others are well known.
Consider just a few of the details contained in Luke 2:1-6. There was the edict of Rome. Unknown to him, Augustus was setting in motion events that would fulfill prophecy. He may have been moving in either political expediency, or perhaps in pride. But his edict required Mary and Joseph to leave Nazareth and travel to Bethlehem.
The enrolling had to be done in everyone’s own city, requiring the trip from Nazareth. It would have resulted in all the available rooms and lodgings being in demand. The consequence was that there was no room for the young couple in the inn.
The trip from the home up to Bethlehem in Judea was no simple journey. Add to it the condition of a mother about to go into labor and something of the hardship and anxiety she endured becomes obvious. How comforting the words of Gabriel, Elizabeth, and the recounting of the angelic words to Joseph (Matt 1:20, 21) must have been to her during the long and arduous journey.
But think as well of the enwrapping of the babe. “She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes.” If you look back at Job 38:9, we read that when God created the universe He made the darkness as a “swaddling band for it.” The One Who swaddled the earth at its birth, is in turn placed in swaddling clothes at His entrance into humanity!
1. Compare the expression used here in Luke 2:3 “to be taxed” and note it is the same word in Hebrews 12:23 concerning the firstborn whose names are “written (enrolled)” in heaven. His name was enrolled down here, that ours might be enrolled up there.
2. The enrollment would also serve to verify the lineage of Christ as being of the house of David. The genealogies as recorded in Matthew and Luke verify and confirm His right to reign as David’s Son.
3. Compare the Lukean account with Matthew. In Matthew’s Gospel, there is no room for Him in Jerusalem. In Luke, there is no room for Him in the inn at Bethlehem. In John 1:11 there is no room for Him in His own things – the creation, nation, people, land, etc.