Swaddling ClothesWhen I was a small child, I was much impressed by the fact that the baby Jesus was wrapped in ‘swaddling clothes’. My mother’s explanation that this just meant that Jesus was wrapped up tightly in a cloth or blanket, and that this was something done with all babies because it made them feel good, clearly wasn’t correct (although at the time I was too polite to contradict my mother). After all, the angel told the shepherds ‘this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes’; how could they be a sign, if all babies wore them? Swaddling clothes must be the dress appropriate for the Saviour of the World, just as sheep’s clothing was the correct attire for false prophets, soft raiment for those who live in kings’ houses, and long robes for the Scribes and the Pharisees. The woman with an issue of blood who sought to be healed un-noticed by touching the hem of Jesus’s garment knew what she was doing.

In our house when our children were growing up, Christmas was a time for pyjamas. They wore them till dinner time on Christmas Day, and the entire day on Boxing Day, and it was one of the things they most loved about Christmas. That seems more appropriate now than it ever did, and I may do the same this year. Just before the outbreak of the second World War, a Cambridge professor suggested that if Hitler and Mussolini would wear carpet slippers rather than riding boots, the world would be a lot better off. His tongue was in his cheek, no doubt, but his instinct was as sound as that of the woman with the issue of the blood, and Jesus said that her faith made her whole. Pyjamas are probably the closest thing we have to garments of peace, clothes we only wear when we feel safe and secure, and therefore an appropriate acknowledgement of the angels’ proclamation of peace on earth at the birth of the Saviour.

When Isaiah proclaimed the acceptable year of the LORD, he concluded by saying I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels. Let my pyjamas symbolise all that this Christmas!

Christmas blessings to all

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