And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2.7)
This is a familiar passage to be read and considered during the Advent season. It is embedded with so much rich theological beauty and truth for the Christian.
Here we have the Son of God become the son of a virgin. The one who swaddled the stars with darkness (Job 38.9) is now swaddled in cloth as a baby. This is such mind bending, heart melting truth! Christ, the Lord God, becomes a man, and dwells among us (John 1.14).
Furthermore, it is this same Jesus who was swaddled in the garments of humility who will soon swaddle his own children in the merit of his righteousness. This Jesus will, by his perfect obedience, earn the everlasting righteousness that will be credited to a sinner like me.
I cannot stare at the scene of the manger without seeing the looming shadow of Calvary descending upon it. This Jesus was born to die (Matt. 1.21). I see the baby here, swaddled in rags. But in due time he will be swaddled in the rags of my demerit, my sin (Is. 64.6; 1 Pet. 2.24; 2 Cor. 5.21). This he did that I might be clothed in his righteousness (Rom. 4.4-5; 5.1; 2 Cor. 5.21).
This is one reason I love the Christmas season. It forces me to be reminded again of the depth of Christ’s condescension for a rebel like me. The depth is infinite because my sin is infinite. And his righteousness is infinite because his value is infinite. Therefore, praise is befitting for those who have received such grace (Ps. 147.1)