Friday, December 23, 2011

Snuggly Swaddled

 Babies like to be swaddled. Who knew?

Okay, maybe you knew, but I didn’t. I don’t have children. I have never been responsible for the care of a newborn. Swaddling, to me, is an academic subject.

Apparently wrapping babies up snugly (snuggly?) in cloths soothes them. It warms them. Maybe it reminds them of the womb. Swaddling, with due caution of course, seems to be a good thing.

Mary knew.

She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom. (Luke 2:7 CEB)

The knowledge of swaddling must have been passed down from mother to daughter, generation to generation, until it reached Mary of Nazareth. Despite the trying circumstances under which she gave birth to Jesus, Mary cared for him as best she could, swaddling him, comforting him, nourishing him, protecting him, loving him, and laying him down in a manger to sleep.

Jesus came into the world like every one of us: naked, helpless, needful of food, clothing, shelter, and love which Mary. and Joseph too I’m sure, provided.

The great scandal of the Christian faith is our proclamation that, in this tiny, dependent infant resting in a feed box, God has come to be with his people. And again, God is revealed to us in the helpless man, stripped, beaten, dying, affixed to a cross.

This is where humanity and deity, history and eternity, heaven and earth meet.

Not in great shows of power, not with muscle flexing demonstrations of might, but in a swaddled newborn our God has come to us.

Christmas blessings to you, dear reader.


  1. Amen! . . . and yes, re swaddling, the littlest ones do seem to be soothed with that.

  2. This post received a kind comment from the Koala Bear Writer ( some fumble fingered fool clicked "Delete" instead of "Publish" (The aforementioned fumble fingered fool shall remain nameless in order to spare me embarrassment). With apologies to the Koala Bear Writer, I am cutting and pasting her comment from the email notification I received. She wrote:

    Some babies like swaddling, some don't... mine preferred to have their hands free. I think it does remind them of the womb - tight and snug and secure. Beautiful message; thanks.

  3. Hey, I am trying!!! (It being 6:00 am Sunday morning!)

    Good morning Pastor!

    I heard someone on the radio talk about how the God of the universe was contained in those first two dividing cells in the womb of Mary. What a crazy reality to wrap our brains around! In essence, the whole UNIVERSE was contained in a tiny, tiny cluster of cells (Danette likened it to the idea of the Big Bang Theory!).

    For some reason I can't remember, I have been doing some reading on Richard Dawkins (I have read a couple of his books... well, as much as I could stomach! and a couple books responding to his). But I think his main mistake is that he conceives of God in terms of the world we know - if the odds of the universe coming to being are impossibly HUGE (which he admits!), then the odds of a God coming into being are infinitely more so, he reasons. And so he rejects the idea. When the reality is that God is something completely beyond the "stuff" of the universe. God is not just a product of mass and energy and the laws of physics. He is Spirit (as we are too!) - and Dawkins just doesn't get that at all!

    So thinking of GOD crammed into a tiny embryo in pure physical terms is crazy mind boggling - in Spiritual terms - where the Spirit has no physical properties - I can kind of do that!

    But it is still mind boggling... for completely different reasons! Like, How GOD loves us so much He wanted to come and BE one of US! (Of course, he never had to babysit a five year-old granddaughter for the WHOLE weekend!)

  4. Hi Paul.

    I like the way Danette thinks!

    There is a Lutheran theologian who, I'm told, says that the resurrection of Jesus was the big bang. All of time and history and meaning expands in every direction from that moment. I'm not sure how literally (or metaphorically) he means that, but either way, I like it.

    Anyway, because you are the first person to reply to a post on this blog in 2012, you get...


    Watch your mail!

  5. WOW! Thank you!!! I am hoping to focus on my Children's Bible stories this year - it will be nice to have a new translation to reference!