“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
Luke. 2:11-12 ESV
Here we are again with another of God’s strange signs. Alright, we have had a startling apparition. Angels, yet, and singing, too. That doesn’t happen every night. And a stunning message: the Messiah, the One we’ve been waiting for all these years has been born tonight. Yesss!
But wait. Born where? Here, in little, non-descript Bethlehem? Not Jerusalem? And how are we supposed to recognize him? Lying in a hay trough, wrapped in rags? What? And we’re supposed to leave our flocks out here unguarded and go over there and go from door to door waking people up and asking if they have a baby in one of their hay troughs? And if we find something like that, that will be the proof that we didn’t just drink too much cheap wine tonight?
Well, I suppose if I had had an angelic vision like that, I might have been moved to take a walk like that. But really, a baby wrapped in rags lying in a hay-trough, that is the evidence that God can be believed? Yes, it is, and somehow that is just what the shepherds found, and that convinced them that what they had heard out of the sky was exactly right – the Messiah had come!
This is all so like our God. He calls us to do crazy things, acting on what is sometimes the flimsiest of evidence, daring to believe that somewhere down the road will come the confirmation that will demonstrate we really weren’t crazy to trust him. And what about that confirmation? A baby wrapped in rags lying in a hay trough? Yes, our God is anything but conventional! But what’s the point! Oh, surely the point is that all that the world looks to for significance and worth – glory, that is – things like wealth, status, money, and possessions, they are all empty trinkets without him. With him rags and a hay trough are very heaven. Is he to be found this Christmas? Oh yes! Just be sure you’re looking in the right place.