Every baby needs to be swaddled. When they are bound tight in a blanket, they feel safe. They relax and rest. It is not only babies who surrender themselves into peace with the swaddling of a blanket. Adults may not get that sort of comfort often, but we need it.
When I am fearful, worried, or not feeling well, I need a warm blanket wrapped tight around me. We all know what it is like to want to curl up in bed after a tough day. Tears may be shed but the warmth of being swathed brings comfort and eventually we relax and rest.
Soft, warm blankets, are often given as gifts this time of year. They are appreciated, not only for their practicality, but also for the comfort and love that comes with the present. Clothing that is soft and warm is also a gift that is more than the covering for our bodies. We wear what fits our mood and some clothes swathe us.
In the Garden of Eden, before clothes were necessary, I want to believe that God wanted people to offer everyday gifts that would express God's image and likeness. Hugs were a reminder of the presence, comfort, safety, protection and grace of God. Maybe in the time of temptation a hug could have helped Adam and Eve to make a wiser choice.
That brings me back to Christmas. Jesus was swaddled in cloths by Mary because He was now fully human and needed what all humans need. I think He was the first one to offer hugs to those He met while He was here on earth. Why? Because I know He is always with me to give comfort and peace. He hugs me with His word, His presence, and His church.
You, O Lord, my God, are Comforter, Peace, Protector and Savior! You are the Promise of Emmanuel, God with us! Your presence swaddles me in love and grace. You are my hiding place, my hug in the midst of my need. Thank You for the hugs of my loved ones. Thank You for the strength and well being those hugs bring. Thank You for my arms that can reach out to others to share the gift of You. Teach me to be generous in my giving.