Thursday, December 20, 2012

Baby Jesus


Song: "Away In a Manger" (Hymns 206)

"She brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger." (Luke 2:7). We are drawn to Mary's efforts to care for her newborn child the best she could in the rude circumstances. Swaddling clothes were strips of cloth used to wrap around newborns. The baby was typically rubbed with oil before the strips of cloth were applied. Swaddling kept the baby warm, dry, and protected from skin infections. (Wikipedia)

I wonder if it looked something similar to these Pakistani twin babies:
(image via here)

Or if it were more like this depiction of swaddling with one long strip of cloth (or many tied together). 
("Madonna and Child" by Ambrogio Lorenzetti)

Every baby during that time was wrapped in swaddling clothes, but only Christ was laid in a manger. When Jesus entered the world, he was born into humble circumstances. Mary and Joseph were far away from their home in Nazareth, and could only find refuge and privacy in a stable. Having no bed for Jesus, they made use of a manger. When I think of little Baby Jesus lying in a manger, I imagine him in a little crib. But, a manger isn't a bed - it's a box used to feed animals; not a bed - but a table!

Now, remembering what we learned about the Bread of Life (John 6:35), does that bring special imagery when you hear the words of the sacrament blessing: "Bless and sanctify this bread to the souls of all those who partake of it, that they may eat in remembrance of the body of thy Son" (D&C 20:77). Thus, the Bread of Life was born in the House of Bread and placed on a feeding trough as if being offered to you and I, and "he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever" (John 6:38). A symbolic gesture for all who wish to partake of Eternal Life.

In Bethlehem, this feeding box was probably made of stone, like this one.
(image via here)

What can we learn from the Baby Jesus?
The greatest Christmas gift ever given was wrapped in swaddling clothes. Consider what that gift means to you. How has your life been blessed because of the birth of Christ? What are some of the gifts he gives?

Activity: Your Gift to Jesus Christ
Pass out a card to everyone. We are going to each give a gift to Jesus. Think of a gift you can give: something you want to commit to work on; a goal that will bring you closer to Christ. Write or draw your gift (or Mommy/Daddy will help you) on the card.

Pass out an envelope to everyone. These envelopes contain your gift to Jesus from last year. Before placing your new card in the envelope, review last year's gift and reflect on how you did and consider if you were really able to journey closer to Christ. When you have inserted your new gift into the envelope, you can place it inside Jesus' white stocking.

Activity: Make Haystack Cookies

Ingredients:
- 1 package chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 4 cups chow mein noodles
- mini marshmallows

1. Melt chocolate chips and peanut butter together for 1 min in microwave, stir and microwave for additional 1 ½ min until melted. Add chow mein noodles and toss together gently with 2 forks until well blended.

2. Drop onto waxed paper. Add a marshmallow to represent baby Jesus. Allow chocolate to cool and harden before eating.

Other Credits: I adapted some of the information from the Christmas devotional plan compiled by Jen Lund (scroll down to Christmas). 

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For a list of the rest of my Christmas Devotionals, see this post.

1 comment:

  1. I have enjoyed your blog. It's been great to read about the the amazing experience of the Savior's birth.
    I loved the activity of giving Jesus a gift. We did this last FHE. I chose to say morning prayers. It has made a such a difference. Amazingly I have heard the prompting to remind me to pray because it isn't a habit yet, but maybe next Christmas it will be.

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