Wrapping the baby Jesus in swaddling clothes was the common practice of the time. It is still the common practice in many places. By wrapping the baby head to toe, it is kept warm and its delicate skin in protected. Being laid in a manger, maybe Jesus even needed a little extra protection. All one could see of the baby was their little face, gazing up at them.
In the culture of Jesus’ day and in many places still today, at the end of life the body is again wrapped in a cloth. This time it is called a shroud and it covers all of the body. The body is wrapped with fragrant spices and laid to rest in a protetcive little coccoon. The cycle is complete.
Tonight the communion will be covered by a cloth except when being served. The elements are representative of Jesus’ body and blood, so it is appropriate and respectful to cover them.
In our Christian walk, God’s love continually surrounds us much like the swaddling clothes do a baby. God wraps His love and protection around us as He walks through the ups, downs, and middles of life with us. As we walk we will stumble and we will sin. But God is present then too for His love never fails. In these moments we also receive His love and grace as well. They surround us too and make us new and clean and whole. Through Jesus’ work on the cross, we are forgiven and restored to walk again in God’s loving presence. Thank you Jesus.
Scripture reference: Luke 2: 1-20