Look around you lately? The signs of Christmas are all over… Santa Claus and Rudolph, silver bells, candlelight, carols and glittering seasonal lights. But the only sign that counts was given to those shepherds in the Judean hills some 200 years ago… the sign of swaddling cloths and a manger.
You see, the shepherds lived in a rough world with daily hard work and a struggle for survival. There was very little tinsel and glitter in their lives. Yet God came to them with his realistic sign.
“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Swaddling cloths; nothing more than a square cloth with a bandage-like strip coming off one of the corners. The baby was first wrapped in the square, much the way we still wrap babies in their blankets, and then the bandage-like strip was wrapped round and round about him. And the manger; well, nothing but a smelly feed trough for animals.
Jesus was born, the Messiah was born in a down-to-earth place of huble origin… very much in the real world.
After seeing the sign and strengthened by their visit to the manger, these few shepherds returned to their real world to live for him.
We also live in a rough, wicked world filled with major problems, drudgery, hard work and sin. And to us also comes God’s enduring signs of swaddling cloths and a manger. The swaddling cloths remind us that we are wrapped in the righteousness of the baby Jesus and the manger stands in the shadow of the cross. Like those shepherds, we too kneel at the manger, receive strength from our Lord, and return to our real world to serve Him and those in need.
Look for the real signs this Christmas and may God bless this special time for all of you.
A merry and blessed Christmas.
Yours in Christ,