Today, we opened each of the eggs, like we do every year. My daughter opened one of the last eggs -- a linen cloth. She said, proudly, "They wrapped him in cloth..." and my nine-year-old son interrupted in a silly voice: "...and they laid Him in the manger!"
I felt like I had been struck by lightning. The beginning of the story met the end of the story in a powerful way. I had never realized this connection before and my son had nailed it. On the day of Jesus' birth, they wrapped Him in cloths. On the day of his death, they wrapped Him in cloths, again.
This is one of those tricks that we writers add to stories to make the reader go "Ah!" The perfect circle which brings us back to the beginning.
God is the ultimate creator of story. A popular worship song calls Him the "author of salvation." He used lots of "foreshadowing" to plant the story in the minds of His people. He developed His characters, mapped out the plot and perfectly crafted every scene.
My son reminded me of another parallel in Jesus' story. Many historians believe that the original stable was actually a cave. The tomb was also a cave.
The Beginning and the End, the Alpha and the Omega.
What's even better? When they wrapped Jesus in those burial cloths and laid him in the tomb (the cave), it wasn't the end of the story.
It was a new beginning for each of us.