Our family has a slight obsession with blankets. No matter the time of year, we wrap up in soft, plush blankets on the couch. We tuck ourselves into bed with multiple layers. When we go to the movies, we troop in with our blankets slung over our shoulders like Linus from the Peanuts comic strip. Our road trips are epic for the number of blankets that make the journey. We are blanket people.
Many times, a blanket comes to represent a special place or time in life. For instance, each of the kids have multiple blankets with their summer camp’s insignia. We each have our favorites, of course, but when someone else tries to use another person’s favorite, our dark sides emerge. “Give me my blanket.” “Don’t get anything on my blanket.” “Who has my blanket?” “Don’t take my blanket.” I wish I could blame the children solely, but each of those phrases has come out of my mouth. We always have another available pile of blankets from which to choose, but we are reduced to toddlers who yell “mine” when our “blankies” are threatened.
Blankets provide physical warmth, but they also symbolize comfort and security. Perhaps we should more graciously offer our blankets to one another. We could share our blankets rather than keep them to ourselves. Lately, our culture tends more toward possessiveness and less toward sharing. We live in a mindset of scarcity, of mine and yours, of have and have-nots. But our tightfistedness is not limited to physical objects. We have a hard time extending kindness and caring. Simple words or gestures of appreciation are scarce, yet we could freely give them. We isolate from others instead of welcoming people into our communities.
But God is not miserly with us. Our God is boundless in love and lavish with grace. God wants to take care of us when we hurt and celebrate with us when we are happy. The Psalmist said, “He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4). I imagine God wrapping us in the softest, coziest blankets to shelter us. Then, God pulls us close, puts his arm around us, and comforts us as we tell him what is on our hearts.
God will never refuse to give us support and reassurance. And God wants us to demonstrate that same type of care to those we encounter. We may not literally provide a blanket to everyone, but we can show compassion and empathy. We can spread kindness instead of being callous or indifferent.
When we wrap ourselves in blankets this season, let us remember that God blankets us in love every day, always. May we spread the blanket of God’s love wide to cover others so that they too may experience the warmth of God’s refuge.
The Carter Family