What do you think a sign from heaven would look like? Would it be a paraplegic standing and walking? Would it be finding jewels on your living room rug? Would it be a storm reversing itself and missing your house? While all these things could be signs from heaven, I find it interesting that in the story of Christ’s birth, the SIGN from heaven was that the shepherds were going to find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. The sign wasn’t the angel of the Lord speaking or the host of angels appearing and singing. We’ve heard the Christmas nativity story so many times that it is easy to gloss over this remarkable SIGN from heaven. We need to think about this scene more carefully!
Given the choice, everyone wants a clean environment for a baby’s birth. Right? Babies are so susceptible during the birthing process, as is the mother. It is an exciting time, but it is also a very nerve-wracking event! Have you been to a stable or barn lately? They are stinky and dusty with a lot of grime, and manure! Can you imagine having to give birth in such a filthy place? This is where the animals eat, and if you think your dog’s dish gets gross, can you imagine the mess a farm animal makes when eating. YET, this is the very place God chose for a sign.
Something else to ponder is the social status of the shepherds who were basically nomadic gypsies who lived in shabby mobile tents. They didn’t have the facilities to bathe as people who lived in a more stable environment would. They were chided and looked down upon in those days. So let’s look at this scene again. God chooses the stable for His Son to be born. He chooses the manger as a bed for this Newborn King. He chooses the shepherds that society doesn’t give a second thought. Yet, this was all by God’s design!
It’s not the way you or I would have done it, is it? Yet God is doing this even now in ways we can’t imagine. He is doing marvelous things that we too often fail to recognize that are actually signs from heaven. A few years back, I wrote a Christmas song called “Born To Die” that I hope to share one day. The manger isn’t how we would have done it at all and neither is the Cross! But God uses the most unlikely things to bring about the greatest and most unimaginable miracles. We must learn to trust God no matter what turns life takes, or how a situation looks like to our natural eyes. He has a plan! Glory to God in the highest indeed!!!
The apostle Paul wrote that God chooses the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. Why didn’t God send the angels to reveal the sign from heaven to the religious leaders? Why didn’t He tell them that His Holy Child had been born and would be found in a manger? Would they have believed their Messiah would be found in an animal’s feeding trough? I think not. Nevertheless, the lowly shepherds did. So let me ask you, could something that is difficult going on in your life, actually be a sign of God’s working?
Blessings to you and a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
Judy A Bauman
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