Ah, the holidays. It's a time of carols and advent calendars, of Christmas plays and candlelit services. It's also a time of cooking, cleaning, nose-wiping, pot scrubbing, and laundry. Always laundry.
Have you ever thought of the meaning behind Christmas laundry? Those swaddling clothes didn't wash themselves, you know. It was the first time in eternity God—the Everlasting One—needed someone to clean His clothes. God became fully human. A baby, a boy, a young man, and an adult who needed someone to scrub at His grass stains and spot-clean the dribble down his tunic from his lunch.
Jesus, God-come-to-earth, had a mind, a will, emotions, a body, and laundry. How amazing is it that the divine Son of God would not only take part of our humanity, but that He'd need fellow humans to help care for his humanity, too? I was thinking about laundry because I do it a lot. We have six people in our home: my husband and me, my eighty-three-year-old grandmother, our two college students, and our toddler. Even though the college kids did their own laundry for many years, both of them are full-time students and work, and both also volunteer at church, so I made it a choice to serve them in this way. If you add it up, that's a lot of laundry. On most some days, I find it rewarding to pull it warm, fresh and clean from the dryer, fold it, and deliver it in neat piles to their beds.
I remember the first time I did laundry as a new mom. It was then reality hit. I had a child to care for—the little socks and sleepers proved it was so. Laundry brings our care for others to reality.
Sometimes when I'm folding laundry, I listen to podcasts on my phone, but over the last few weeks I've turned it into a time of prayer.
- As I pull my eighteen-year-old son's socks from the dryer and twist them together, I pray he will walk with God always.
- When I hang my grandma's polyester blouse, I pray God will keep her heart strong.
- When I reach my hands inside my husband's T-shirt and turn it right side out, I pray that my own motives will be right-side when it comes to our relationship.
- When I stretch out my twenty-year-old daughter's jeans, I pray she will stand tall for the Lord.
- When I hang my toddler daughter's little dresses, I pray that she will see herself as God's princess and know how greatly she is loved.
Laundry needs to be done often, and God tells us to lift up our concerns in prayer, so combining the two can turn a chore into a worship service!
I wonder if Jesus' mother Mary prayed over his clothes, remembering the angel's visit. I can imagine the women who cared for Jesus and His disciples feeling honored that they could do such a simple thing as scrubbing stains for someone so great.
God-came-to-earth changed everything. From swaddling clothes to Jesus' burial cloth—and everything in between—the garments He wore proved God loved us that much to come.
How can you love that much this Christmas? First, by thanking God for His humanness that changed your eternity. And second, considering speaking meaningful prayers over your laundry pile. After all, the meaning of Christmas laundry is that we have a family to care for and love. Let us take their needs before God and learn how to do both better!