I landed on the word "swaddling" today.
I know what it meant when I swaddled my kids, and up until today, I pretty much assumed that Mary and I were tracking with that practice. You know, my swaddling = Mary's swaddling.
But as I was reading today, I found myself wondering if that were really the case.
I searched swaddling online, and it turns out, at least according to one website, that swaddling 2000 years ago is a bit different than what I did. For the full story I read, click here.
In the Luke 2 passage, the angels so specifically tell the shepherds they would find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths. These cloths aren't baby blankets folded certain ways and all tucked in around the baby. The ritual of swaddling in Jesus' time typically included a dilute salt water bath, and then a wrapping of the baby with strips of linen cloth about 2 inches wide around the body, making sure the limbs were straight. And, according to the website I mentioned above, this bath and swaddling were soon after the birth, and only lasted a short time - at the most, 2 hrs.
When I read that, I marveled once again at the perfect, dramatic timing of God. When He had the angel tell the shepherds the baby would be wrapped in swaddling cloths, did they immediately know the clock was ticking, that there was no time for hesitation because babies don't stay wrapped in swaddling cloths that long? Things were happening fast. The urgency and excitement the shepherds must have felt would have been palpable.
And I love how God gives such a specific detail for them to look for - a swaddled infant in a manger. There really could be no mistaking that.
It was perfect. It was dramatic. It was a swaddled Savior.