Jewels from Judy: A Closer Look at THE SIGN from Heaven
What do you think a sign from heaven would look like? Would it be a paraplegic walking or someone who is blind suddenly being able to see? Would it be finding jewels on your living room rug? Would it be a storm reversing itself or parting to miss 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 that’s recorded in Luke 2:8-20 more carefully!
Given the choice, everyone wants a clean environment for a baby’s birth. With that in mind, have you ever been to a stable or barn? They are stinky and dusty with a lot of grime and manure! A manger is basically a trough where farm animals are fed. If you’ve seen how filthy a dog’s dish can get, can you imagine the mess livestock make when eating? Yet this is the very place God chose as a SIGN of our Savior’s birth!
Something else to ponder is the social status of the shepherds. Shepherds in Christ’s time were nomadic gypsies who lived in shabby mobile tents. They didn’t have the facilities to bathe as would others who lived in a more stable environment. They were chided and looked down upon in those days. The Father chose the shepherds that society didn’t hold in high regard to be His witnesses!
Why didn’t God send the angels to reveal the “sign from heaven” to the religious, political, or other influential leaders of Jesus’s day? Why didn’t He tell them that His Holy Child had been born and would be found in a manger? Would they have believed the Messiah would be found in an animal’s feeding trough? I think not. Nevertheless, the lowly shepherds did, and they went to investigate. They found the Christ and then spread the word. All who heard it were amazed! The shepherds then returned to their fields rejoicing and glorifying God. He does choose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise! (1 Cor 1:26-31)
Our Messiah being placed in a manger at His birth is not how we would have had His life begin, but then His torturous death on the cross isn’t the ending we would have planned for our King either! Just because something is difficult and makes no sense to us doesn’t mean that God is not in the middle of it. Scripture tells us that He will never leave or forsake us, so we should ask ourselves some questions when difficult times arise. How does God plan to use a trial or test? How can we stand in faith even when we cannot see His plan? We know it is impossible to please God without faith, so we must diligently seek Him! Perhaps we show our trust and faith in Jesus most when we are in confounding circumstances – especially circumstances that seem insurmountable. This is when we must discipline ourselves to declare our trust in Him and that He will work it all together for the good of His kingdom. (Heb 11:6, 13:5, James 1:2-5; Romans 5:1-5; 8:28)
It amazes me how God uses the most unlikely things to bring about the greatest and most remarkable miracles, and He is doing this even now in ways we can’t fathom! He is doing marvelous things that we too often fail to recognize are “signs from heaven”. We must learn to trust God no matter how a situation looks to our natural eyes. He has a plan!
Glory to God in the highest indeed!!!
I pray you have a very Merry Christmas (sharing the Light and everlasting love of Christ),
and a blessed and prosperous New Year,
Judy A Bauman