God’s Love is Like A Blanket

Mike RiessNews, Outdoor Opportunities

An Advent Worship Project Possibility

One solution to offering low-risk worship gatherings during The Pandemic has been to take it outside. Some congregations have been conducting services outdoors in the fresh air while others have been meeting in the style of a drive-in movie theater with services being broadcast directly into people’s parked vehicles. As the weather turns less temperate, though, the enthusiasm for remaining outdoors may be chilling down. To shiver throughout 30 or 40 minutes of worship may seem unappealing to folks who are accustomed to being comfortable. But perhaps there’s a way to give meaning to such a hardship. I wonder if it might serve as an experiential reminder of what it is like to be left out in the cold. I wonder if it might lead to increased empathy for those who are regularly without creature comforts.

Mindful that not everyone has easy access to warmth, coziness, and even basic shelter, one appropriate and compassionate response could be to coordinate a blanket drive. In the congregation I serve, this will be an Advent focus. We will gather, bless, and donate blankets, quilts, and comforters on a chosen Advent Sunday, using a new hymn text shared below.

If you are inclined to conduct a blanket drive, please be sure to check with your local agencies ahead of time to make sure your contribution will be accepted and welcomed. Potential organizations to contact might include local emergency homeless shelters and warming centers, the Salvation Army, agencies providing safe space for victims of domestic violence, or other churches and faith-based organizations in your community who regularly provide assistance to God’s fragile ones.  If this project does not work well in your setting during the Advent/Christmas seasons, perhaps it would be useful at another time (e.g. in conjunction with your community’s Point-in-Time Count of the homeless population.) Adapt as is useful.

The Blanket Song

Tune: In the Bleak Midwinter

In the chill of winter,
When the winds are strong,
When the snow falls swiftly,
When the nights are long,
Shelter is a blessing
Not to be dismissed.
Take it not for granted!
Thank God for the gift!

God’s love is a blanket—
Comfort in this world
where the strands of harshness
are so often twirled—
Covering the fragile
When all hope seems thin
As a threadbare bedspread,
Warming hearts within.


Download lyrics here.

Stories told of Jesus
Stress his humble birth:
Homeless, in a manger,
Refugee on Earth.
Shabby strips for swaddling,
Thrift store merchandise,
Clothed the Incarnation,
God with us, disguised.

Come, with fleece and cotton,
Come, with silk and wool.
Come, with quilts and blankets—
Plain and fanciful.
Honoring the Christ Child,
Share this warm embrace
With a needful neighbor.
Offer gifts of grace.

©Christine Sobania Johnson, 2020