“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
She brought a blanket to the cemetery. It was a pink one. It was a baby blanket.
She did not smile, but she did not cry. She had that faraway look that combat veterans sometimes get. She had come to complete a task. She had come to bury her daughter.
There had been no funeral. There was no crowd of mourners. Only the parents, the pastor, and a man from the mortuary were present to stand next to the hole in the ground and gaze at a tiny casket. A fellow with a baseball cap was sitting at a distance in his pickup truck, with a shovel leaning against the tailgate.
This is not what the new parents had planned. The father was a Marine scheduled to be discharged about the time the baby would be born. As soon as it was safe for the baby to travel, the three would head back to waiting family and friends in the Midwest.
They had bought only a few baby things in advance because there would be a baby shower when they got home—and Christmas was just around the corner. Piles of presents were waiting for the new member of the family. Now, she wondered if those presents could be returned. She hoped she would not need to look at them.
They had been so excited about the upcoming birth. They had no hint of a problem until the doctor came into the room to say something was wrong with the newborn—something very wrong. He did not expect the baby to survive.
It did not.
She knew it might seem foolish, but she felt she could not allow her daughter to lie uncovered in the cold North Carolina soil. She would feel better if she could just one-time tuck her baby into bed. So, she brought a blanket.
Unnoticed, there were some others watching this sad scene. Jesus reminds us: “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:10).
He who notes the sparrow falling from the sky watched as the blanket was placed over the coffin.
There was simply no chance this little one would feel the cold. Before her nurse rushed to answer the code blue alarm, before the parents knew what had happened, the baby was already wrapped in the warm, everlasting arms of her Savior God.
She was safe. She had been rescued from death’s grip. The North Carolina soil will not be able to hold her body. It never did hold her soul.
She had lived on this earth for only a few hours—but that was enough. During that brief time, she had been born a second time. She had been baptized. She was cleared to live in heaven.
She didn’t need the blanket bought at Kmart. She was already wrapped in a heavenly blanket. It had been bought for her by Jesus.
The Lord God explains: “As many of you as were baptized in Christ have been clothed with Christ” (Galatians 3:27 EHV).
Her mom had seen to it that her baby was wrapped in the loving robe of righteousness given by Jesus before the little one left this earth.
She knew the words of the Savior, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”
She would have told her daughter all about Jesus. She would have taught her how to pray. She would have held her on her lap in church. But Jesus intervened. He had a better plan.
This baby will never get sick, will never be heartbroken, will never be tempted to sin—will never, ever die.
She now lives in joy and bliss. One day she will get to greet her mother in heaven. We wonder what she will say. Maybe it will be: “Hi, Mom! Thanks for the blanket!”
Maybe she will say that. We hope she will.
God grant it.
Prayer: Lord of life and death, Guardian of our souls, we thank you for the new life in Christ. We thank you for those who brought us to Jesus. We thank you that we can announce: “God’s own child, I gladly say it. I was baptized into Christ.” Amen.
Written by Rev. Paul Ziemer, WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military, Belle Plaine, Minnesota.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Note: Scripture reading footnotes are clickable only in the web version.