Visiting Teaching Christmas Message, Ornament and Printable

visiting-teaching-Christmas-message
Last week I sat down and made a visiting teaching Christmas printable for the people I visit teach, but when I was getting everything ready to deliver it just didn’t feel like the right message to send.

Instead I ended up spending a couple of hours reading more about the birth of the Savior and I was struck by the reference to Christ being wrapped in swaddling clothes. I had been praying that I would have more time to learn about the birth of Christ this Christmas, and it occurred to me that this was an answer to prayer. While I definitely didn’t have the time for this little tangent, I was so grateful for it. It was the first time this month that I had really felt the spirit of Christmas. Maybe it isn’t so much about finding time to come closer to our Savior, but making time.

To go with the message, I made a Christmas ornament that contained swaddling clothes and straw from the manger. I just used a strip of fabric and some raffia. I then laid out the message I wrote in a printable.

swaddling-visiting-teaching-message

Download Visiting Teaching Christmas Message Printable PDF

This is what I learned:

In Search of Swaddling Clothes and a Manger


And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. Luke 2:10-12


When we read about the swaddling clothes mentioned in Luke, we often think of a diaper or being wrapped in a blanket, much like we swaddle babies today. But in Luke 2:12 the swaddling clothes seem to have a greater significance. So much so that the angel used it as a way to help the shepherds identify the Christ child.

The words “wrapped him in swaddling clothes” (Luke 2:7) comes from the single Greek word sparganoo. The word means to wrap a newborn child with a special cloth by passing the strips from side to side. The cloth used is the same cloth (or swaddling bands) that were used when the mother and father were married.

Before a couple were married, the bride would start work on embroidering swaddling bands. During the wedding ceremony, the couples’ hands would be wrapped together with these bands in a symbol of union. Later, the bands would be used to secure the blankets around their newborn children.

The swaddling bands would include symbols embroidered on them that would indicate the family’s history or lineage. Since Mary was from the tribe of Judah, the swaddling bands may have had symbols like a lion, lamb, or tree of life. Because she came from the royal line of David, she would have also been able to use the royal colors of blue and white.

Since anybody familiar with the Old Testament would have known that Christ would come from the lineage of David, referring to the baby’s swaddling would have been a very good way to identify him.

Also striking would be his lying in a manger. A manger is a feeding trough designed to hold the animals’ food above the contaminated ground. The manger would have likely been one of the cleanest places among the animals. The contrast of a baby dressed in royal swaddling clothes lying in such a place would definitely call the attention of the shepherds.

Like the shepherds back then, we also seek Christ. And the angel’s message is still important to us today as we look to identify him in our lives. As we look for him, we will find signs of his noble lineage that testify that he is the Son of God. We will also see evidences of his greatness and power. But most often we will find him not in palaces, but the humble mangers of life. It is in our everyday lives that we see his tender mercies and feel of his love. If we forget to stop and look for him there, we run the risk of missing him


SIDE NOTE: The day I finished writing this, my friend Brittany shared the painting “Little Lamb” by Jenedy Paige with me. She didn’t know what I had been working on and I thought it was a beautiful coincidence. I loved reading about the research Paige had done and learned so much more, especially about the manger. I encourage you to go over and see her beautiful painting and to learn more for yourself.

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23 Responses

  1. Linda Lee says:

    Thank you so much. I’ve been searching for info on swaddling clothes.

  2. Dawn Mello says:

    Where did you find the square glass ornaments. I would love to make this for my VT sisters this year.

  3. Audrey. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I will definitely use this message for friends and family. You are so awesome.

  4. How did you get the items into the ornaments so neatly? What did you use to make the vinyl lettering? Love this!!! 🙂 Giving it to our Relief Society sisters.

    • admin says:

      Thanks! The fabric was just a long strip, so I feed it in there and positioned it using skinny knitting needles, but skewers would work to. I then added the raffia on top and positioned that too with my knitting needles. I cut the vinyl lettering with my Silhouette, but if you don’t have a vinyl cutter, there are lots of people online who you can hire to do it or there might be somebody in your ward.

      • Thank you so much!! 🙂 I’m making 50 of them for our Relief Society Christmas gift to our Sisters. I have a cricut, by chance do you remember the size of your font? Thanks so very much. I am going to download the printable too.

        • admin says:

          I don’t. I just measured the available space on the ornament and made sure the text fit within that area. I have never used a Cricut, but I know that the Silhouette allows you to see how big the final cut is going to be.

  5. Lauren says:

    These are great! Do you remember demensions and font you used in your silhouette?

    • admin says:

      Thanks! I used Cheboygan, one of my favorite free fonts, but I don’t remember the size. I just measured the bulb to make sure it would fit.

  6. Kathy says:

    Hi,
    We love your pdf about the swaddling clothes and want to send it with all the home teachers to families in our ward. I know you asked that your ideas not be distributed without permission, so I’m asking permission or what I would need to do to get permission. I see from the comments that other people have used your ideas for sisters in their ward, so maybe this is something similar?
    Also, could you tell me where you got your information about the swaddling clothes?
    Thanks!
    Kathy

  7. Thank you so much for the beautiful message you have shared with us. This has realy enriched the spirit of Christmas for me. I see that the pdf is a free printable, would you allow me to copy it to go along with the ornaments we are making for our Folsom 2nd Ward Relief Society?

    Sue Anglesey

  8. Taryn says:

    Thank you for this beautiful idea! I am hoping to use this idea and printable for a gift for our RS sisters from the presidency. Would that be okay? Also, I will absolutely be purchasing a Little Lamb print from your friend. AMAZING!

    • admin says:

      Definitely! I am absolutely fine with anybody using the printable to distribute at church. I am so glad that it is helping others feel the spirit of Christmas too!

  9. Michelle says:

    I would Love to hand this out in young women. However we need a source to cite for the story. Can you tell me a source that I can cite or sources of where you got the story of swaddling bands? Thanks!!

  10. Natalie says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this idea! I would love to use this for our Relief Society sisters. The message touched me and I ordered the print as well. What a beautiful reminder this will be in my home each year. Thank you again!

  11. Hanna says:

    Thank you so much for sharing! This really touched me and I attached this printout to the treats I delivered to ensure I was able to share the spirit of Christ. I was also going to make your ornament, but after reading the story on the linked page and seeing your friend’s painting I instead did a simple blue embroidery on a few strips of white linen and made “ragball” ornaments with them. I think the message was well received and reflecting on and sharing the message has definitely helped me keep the spirit of Christ in mind this season, thank you!

  12. Melissa says:

    Do you remember the size of the ornaments?

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