For many of us, this single digit weather brings our warmest sweaters off the shelf. I don’t know of any warmer than hand-knit Irish wool sweaters. From my time of living in Ireland, I have several. By far, my favorites come from the Aran Islands–not because they are more beautiful, but because of the story behind them.

The Aran Islands are three small Islands off the West Coast of Ireland. They are beautiful, but they are desolate. Few people live on the Islands because of their rugged climate and difficult accessibility. For a weekend getaway, there is no place finer.

Historically, most men of the Aran Islands have been fishermen. They would put out into the Sea in the morning and pray to return with a good catch later that same evening. The waters surrounding the Islands are known for their quick storms and treacherous currents.

While the men are away at sea, the women spend a great deal of time knitting. Hence, the famous Aran sweaters. What is most unique about these sweaters is that each one has its own pattern. A wife would lovingly knit a sweater for her husband to wear while out at sea. She would carefully weave the “family pattern” into it. The pattern was for far more than beautification–it was for identification.

If a man were lost at sea, the people of the Aran Islands would wait for his body to wash up on shore. The woman whose husband was missing would be able to identify her lost love by the pattern she had knit into the sweater. She would simply say, “This one is mine.”

In Romans 13:14, God instructs us to “clothe ourselves with Christ.”

There will come a day, when like the Irish fisherman who was lost at sea, we too will come to the end of our life. And when we travel to the farthest shore, if we have “clothed ourselves with Christ,” then God will say, “This one is mine.”