There he lies in the manger, the baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes. His humble parents, Joseph and Mary looking at him (Luke 2:7).
Imagine that God, the Creator of the whole universe, trusts His only Son to this mortal people! Among all married couples in Israel, perhaps all married couples all over the world, He chose Joseph and Mary, because He trusted that they would do a good job. What a huge responsibility, to educate God’s own Son! Breathtaking! From the beginning, the two gave their best.
Certainly, being an Israelite, Mary was familiar with babies and children of family and friends. So it was no problem for them that Jesus was their first child. Surely she had grown up in a way that she just knew how to take care of children.
She was going to be a very good mother and knew of course right away the right thing to do: she wrapped her child warm and safe in swaddling clothes.
It is said that knowledge of the calming influence that swaddling has on babies has been known for countless generations. Archaeological researches have stated that mothers have wrapped their children in swaddling clothes for the first time around 400 BC. Mothers as well as babies are comfortable at swaddling, as it brings back the secure feeling of the mother’s womb again. Furthermore, it is said that swaddling is one of the most loving, most gentle, most relaxing things is that a mother can give her baby.
So it came to pass, therefore, that some shepherds were watching their flock in the night, as an angel of God suddenly stood before them, surrounded by blinding light. With great excitement, he proclaimed:
And the angel said to them, “Fear not! For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be for a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and peace are on earth among men of good will!” (Luke 2:10-14)
Without hesitation, the shepherds made their way to Bethlehem and found there all that had been described by the angels. There He was, the royal prince (and he certainly was not the only prince of human history, who was wrapped in swaddling clothes). For someone who is being brought up to the outstanding calling to be king, needs an extraordinary upbringing for that.
Obviously “people of good will” become increasingly rare on this earth, because good things like swaddling infants, keeping the marriage covenant or just educating one’s own children to be obedient is being called by some “evil.” And on the other side of things, “evil” things like lust, immorality, lewdness, drunkenness and “let the children run free” are being referred to as “good”. We live in the time that the Prophet Isaiah described, in which good is being called evil and evil good (Isaiah 5:20 ).
Fortunately, however, a ruler was born, whose birth promised that good rule would be established on this earth — and that it would never come to an end!
“For a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and they call him at his name Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Forever, Prince of Peace. Great is the rule, and the peace shall be no end, upon the throne of David and over his Kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with justice from henceforth even for ever.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
Remember what was said to the shepherds in the field, “Peace on earth toward men of good will” — that is, people to those who know the difference between truly good and truly evil. Peace in their consciences to people who will not condemn the innocent by calling good evil and evil good.
We live in dangerous times and we hope that the coming King will quickly bring justice, so that the propagation of his rule and his peace will truly have no end.