“And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped
in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
The Son of God found as a babe, swaddled in cloth and lying in a humble manger?
Almost no one expected that one.
If the king of the world was going to come and save it,
most people probably thought he’d be a bit more… powerful.
I wonder how many people were disappointed that the sign of God’s presence was so small.
So seemingly insignificant.
Did people miss it?
Did anyone second guess it?
Did Mary or Joseph, the shepherds and Magi wonder if perhaps the angels had gotten it wrong?
Perhaps they were all just a bit underwhelmed.
If so, then they are a lot like us.
When we look for signs from God – we want them to be unmistakable.
We want no room for doubt that God is nearby and doing something in our lives.
Especially when life is as hard as it is these days.
We need help and we need it to be CLEAR.
What we get is usually much quieter though.
Most of the time, if we get anything at all, it’s a simple, somewhat unsure gut feeling inside –
the one that makes you wonder if what you just experienced might have come from Someone or Something greater.
Receiving and interpreting God’s signs in our lives are a leap of faith.
They always have been for the people of God.
They don’t show up in the way we want… or as the size we want… or in the timing we want.
Sometimes they don’t even seem like a sign to anyone but us.
But maybe that doesn’t matter.
Maybe that gut feeling … the still, small voice inside of you that asks,
“Could it be?” is proof enough.
Confirmation that the presence of God is in fact near.
Because the Christmas story reminds us
that it is in the small places… the hidden places… the humble, quiet, and sometimes uncertain places where God chooses to reside.
So next time you find yourself asking, “Could it be?”
Could this seemingly insignificant thing be a sign
that God’s presence is coming into your life anew again this Advent?
I invite you to hear Emmanuel’s resounding “Yes! God is with us!”
Merry Christmas, my friends.