Swaddling Clothes

I have a friend who fights.  She has brightly colored hand wraps that she uses to protect her hands beneath her boxing gloves.

She bandages each hand so that the knuckle is protected, the wrist and all the space in between.

When I have watched her wrap and unwrap her hands it has reminded me of Jesus.

I think of him as a baby. In the primitive conditions of his arrival, the Bible records his swaddling–wrapped in swaddling clothes, laid in a manger.  

Descriptions of ancient infant swaddling talk about cleaning the newborn with oil and salt, then wrapping the child in strips of torn cloth.

Lazarus was swaddled when he emerged from his tomb.

The ancients swaddled their newborns and their dead, wrapping both in the same strips of cloth, washing each for the journey ahead.

The story of Jesus’ anointing at Bethany bears striking resemblance to his washing as a newborn and is a stated preparation for the soon-to-be swaddling of his dead body.

Three days is a long time to wait for a resurrection, four days is even longer.  But for many of us 20, 30, or 40 years is how long we have waited for our dead to rise to life.

And if eternity is the span of human existence, then it is also the length of time we must measure each human soul, inside or outside our dark and solitary tombs.

To believe in the resurrection of the dead is to believe in the extreme triumph of Life over death, heaven over hell, good over bad.

To stand at the mouth of the tomb and know that someday each of us will be called to walk out of our tombs into Light.

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