8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Joseph and Mary, together with many fellow Jews, went back to their hometown of Bethlehem to register for the census ordered by the Roman Emperor but could not find any accommodation as all the inns were full and so they ended up in a stable. Mary gave birth to Jesus there and "she wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger " (Luke 3:7). A manger is a trough made of carved stone or wood used for feeding animals.
I have heard preachers say before that this shows how humble our Lord was in choosing to be born in a stable rather than in a palace even though he is supposed to be the King of the Jews. This may be true but v12 says that the shepherds will recognize the Saviour, the Messiah by this sign: a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth lying in a manger. Why?
This is because Jesus was born to die - the Messiah's mission is to die for man's sin. The imagery of him beginning his journey as a man by being wrapped snugly in strips of cloth lying in a manger is reflected by him ending his journey as a man by being wrapped in a strip of linen and laid in a tomb carved out of a rock.
Matthew 27: 59,60a (NLT)
59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long sheet of clean linen cloth. 60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock.
It is also interesting that Jesus was placed in a manger - a feeding trough.
In John 6:53-58, Jesus said,
I am so glad that when I go to church tomorrow, I will be feeding on the flesh and blood of Jesus. When I go to church tomorrow, Jesus will be glorified in my pastor's sermon.
What will your pastor talk about when you go to church tomorrow?