Swaddling clothes ~ the custom
The Jewish tradition of using swaddling clothes to welcome a newborn into the family went something like this:
~The midwife or other birth attendant cut and tied the umbilical cord, then washed the infant with water. At this time, she may have rubbed the child’s skin with a powder made of dried myrtle leaves. The properties of myrtle would have been beneficial to the child.
~The baby was laid diagonally on a square yard of cloth, probably cotton muslin or linen. The swaddling band may or may not have been attached to this cloth at a corner. The attendant then gently rubbed the baby’s skin with salt finely ground into powder. The salt represented the legitimacy of the child, that he or she was born into a known family and was a recognized member of the community, not a bastard.
~The cloth was folded over the infant’s arms and legs, then the swaddling bands were wrapped. Under the chin, over the forehead, then around the child’s body and limbs so that the arms and legs were straight. This signified that the parents would raise the child to be upright and to walk a straight path.
Resources: Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, From the manger in Bethlehem to the baptism in Jordan, The nativity of Jesus the Messiah, Book 2, Chapter VI, Hindrickson Publishers: 1993, p131. http://www.babyblanketcentral.com/swaddling-clothes.html
People have spoken a great deal lately about the “swaddling cloths” so it made me curious. WHAT ARE THEY? I am sure that others have posed this question so I decided to share my findings. I use to think, “It ain’t that deep.” I WAS SO WRONG!!! If you get the chance, do the research about the symbolism of the swaddling cloths for infants at birth and people at death. Study especially the comparison for Christ. I found it to be quite fascinating.
No matter how society tries to CHANGE THINGS, regardless of who established the date, Christmas is a time to remember a person and to celebrate HIS BIRTH, not necessarily the birth date. People are being told to say “Happy Holidays” as an attempt to take “Christ” our of “Christmas”. That’s like having a birthday party and INTENTIONALLY NOT INVITING THE GUEST OF HONOR.