And she gave birth to her firstborn son
and wrapped him in bands of cloth,
and laid him in a manger,
because there was no place for them in the inn.
Bands of Cloth
Bands of cloth bracket the life of Jesus. At the start of his life, his mother wraps him in swaddling cloths which would have been a traditional way of looking after a new born and keeping them feeling warm and safe.
At the end of his life, Jesus was again wrapped in bands of cloth, this time the traditional grave clothes used for wrapping a body in spices and oils ready for burial.
But none of those bands of cloth were able to contain the Son of God. Like all babies, Jesus will have quickly outgrown the swaddling cloths, and as He grew up we are told that he grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and with people.
Nevertheless, His message that God was on the move and was bringing in His Kingdom was one that did not go down well with everyone. Some preferred their God neatly wrapped up and kept ‘safe’, a God that wouldn’t rock the boat or challenge them. And yet this Jesus kept breaking free of the expectations of others and bringing hope and life to all who would follow. Even those bands of cloth in the tomb couldn’t hold Him back.
And that same Jesus continues to break out into a world that so desperately needs Him, inviting us into His adventure of life and hope. May we too take the risk of letting go of the things that make us feel safe but somehow hold us back, and say ‘yes’ to that amazing invitation.