A Blanket

Monday, December 21, 2020
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "O Holy Night"1 (Lyrics)

When I was a teenager, I used to enjoy going out in the streets to play Christmas carols on my cornet (which is like a trumpet) with fellow members of a Salvation Army band. Today, such instrumental carolers are often found in the warmth of a mall, but years ago, such malls didn't exist, so the opportunity to share carols with others was to play them outdoors.

On a cold day, it was a problem. Brass instruments involve blowing into one end using a mouthpiece, and after passing through the instrument, the sound comes out the other end, called the bell. While the moist air that I blew in would be warm, if the outside air were cold, the water vapour would freeze, preventing sound coming out of the bell.

Players would try various ways to keep their instruments warm, such as wrapping a blanket around their instrument, but it was difficult to hold the blanket in place.

My ingenious mother cut a thick piece of material so that it covered my cornet with just the mouthpiece and bell exposed, with a zipper and an opening so that I could finger the valves.

My cornet's blanket was an example of a mother's love being demonstrated in a very practical way, and it reminded me of the practical kindness of Mary thousands of years ago.

Luke 2:7 – And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (KJV)

As a youngster, every time I read these verses, I visualized warmth and comfort coming from a warm blanket. But now, research tells me that "swaddling clothes" really means "swathing bands" or strips of cloth. The significance of these is heightened by the fact that for the shepherds, they were the sign of the Messiah: "Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." (Luke 2:12b KJV)

Apparently, these shepherds were raising the lambs for the temple sacrifices, so when they were born, they were wrapped in swathing bands to protect them from injury, because they had to be without spot or blemish. Since Jesus was born where animals were kept, these strips of cloth would have been readily available for Mary to use.

Undoubtedly, she would not have known the spiritual significance of the fact that she was wrapping the Saviour of the world, the Lamb of God, in swaddling clothes.

John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (NIV)

Like Mary, we may not fully understand the significance of all that we do. I invite us all to strive to follow God's leading so that we may play a small part in His great plan.

Prayer: Father, thank You for the love that Mary showed to Jesus and the opportunity that we have to share that same love with others. Give us the strength to remain faithful. In the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Vincent Walter <vwalter@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good word for today, Vince.

    Beautiful devotion thank you. God bless you.

    Thank you, Vincent, may God continue to bless you this Christmas!

    Fascinating, Vincent. I love details like this that add so much to the Bible.

    Grateful for yet another of your lovely spiritual memories, Vincent. What a blessing you are to others.

    Merry Christmas Mr. Walter
    Thank you for this beautiful devotional.
    God bless.

    Thank you for a lovely devotional. I always enjoy reading your contributions. Merry Christmas to you.

    Thank you, Vincent, for sharing this devotional with us. Yes, may we be more like Mary and less caught up in the hoopla. Blessings.

    Greetings: thank you for your message today and explanation of “swaddling cloths”. I enjoy your devotions very much. May you have a blessed Christmas.

    Well, I didn’t know some of those facts! All these years of hearing the story and there is still something I can learn. Thank you for sharing.
    Merry Christmas.

    Thank you for that bit of info. Everything God does has significance. Amazing how even the small detail speaks volumes! Have a blessed Christmas. It’s good to have some things stay the same. Christ is born! Hallelujah!

    Good Morning, Vincent,
    Are you keeping copies of “your” devotionals? Your family especially should have these as a reminder of you, your life, and your faith.
    Thank you…once more.

    Once again, I thank you for a well-written devotional. And since I always like learning new things, I learned the true significance of these cloths. Thank you again. I wish you a blessed and Merry Christmas!

    Dear Vincent,
    What a resourceful mother you had so that you could entertain others through playing carols and lifting the spirits of others. You always lift my spirit when I read your devotionals. Merry Christmas and may you be blessed with hope, peace, joy, and love.

    Dear Vincent,
    Thank you for the tender story about your mother’s love and ingenuity so you could participate with your cornet. I remember the days of trying to Christmas Carol with sensitive band instruments, and my accordion that didn’t respond well in the cold weather. Blessings to you and yours.

    Dear Vincent
    I want to thank you for the inspiring messages you put in our daily devotional. It is obvious that you are daily serving the Lord even in retirement. These are trying times, but we can rest assured in Emmanuel being with us.
    God bless you richly and stay safe.
    Merry Christmas.

    Greetings Vince,
    Thank you for another one of your interesting devotionals. A nice comparison of the “warm blanket” your Mom made for your music instrument and the warm bands Mary found to swaddle Baby Jesus in. Definitely a show of motherly love in both instances.
    Blessings for the meaningful devotionals you submit. May you enjoy a special celebration of Christ’s birth in the coming days.

    Hello Vincent;
    Thank you for the beautiful devotional you wrote. It touched me deeply, as do all of your devotionals. Your ministry through writing these devotionals is certainly blessed. I’m sure you help many others besides myself.
    I just wanted to let you know how much your efforts are appreciated.
    God Bless you and may you have a wonderful Christmas.

    I grew up in Regina (Saskatchewan) living across the street from the Salvation Army. They played every Sunday morning before church. My Dad was in the Army as he was a saxophone player. So I was very used to band music.

    I remember as a child the Salvation Army came with Christmas hampers in the street and there were always some people with instruments.
    We were in a poor neighbourhood and those hampers were eagerly received.
    Fascinating about the swaddling bands.
    Thank you.

    Dear Mr. Walter:
    I have always enjoyed your excellent devotionals.
    When I was a child, I lived in a town in New Brunswick. I accepted the Lord Jesus at age seven nearly 70 years ago. By God’s marvelous grace, my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren, as well as my husband, all walk with our Lord Jesus Christ!
    On Friday evenings, the Salvation Army group would bring their instruments and Bibles to town. We always went to hear their music and message. My dad described them this way: “Salvation army folks are the salt of the earth people!”
    As a result of these fond memories, we now give our tithe to the Salvation Army to help enable them to “in as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
    Thanking you for your devotionals and praying for blessings upon you this Christmas season.

    Hi Vince,
    Well, if I had ever heard about the meaning and use of swaddling cloths for sacrificial lambs before, I had also long since forgotten and I don’t have any recollection of ever hearing this before. Thank you that even at my age of over 70 you have brought an interesting feature of the Christmas story to our attention.
    Blessings this Christmas to you. We are doing a virtual Christmas – I’m cooking the turkey meal and delivering it Christmas Eve to our children’s homes along with gifts after grandchildren are in bed of course. We did a virtual Thanksgiving the same way with dollar store food containers so they can reheat their meals. It worked very well then and while we miss having the whole family over, we follow Covid restrictions strictly and gladly. We see it as a demonstration of love for other people to do so, plus Covid will not last forever and we hope to still be here afterwards.
    Let’s all hope and pray that with lockdown and a vaccine coming in the New Year that this time next year Covid 19 will basically be history for us.
    May God be with you and keep you strong!

    Good morning Walter.
    Very interesting Devotional about the swathing bands.
    Thank you.

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