We know the Christmas story by heart so it is amazing when a new insight leaps off the pages of my Bible. In Luke 2, the angels do quite a bit of talking with the shepherds.
These shepherds were just going about their normal day, doing what they did each and every day, tending their sheep. While it was a full conversation, it was this verse that my thoughts returned to, over and over:
“And you will recognize him by this sign….”
The shepherds were no different than any of us. They wanted a sign just as much as any of us do today. In the middle of our situations, and our doubts, we want a sign to recognize that God is with us. We long to see Him, to know Him, and His workings.
I love that God knew these ordinary shepherds would need a sign. In His grace and mercy, He provided one for them. He told them how they would recognize the One that had long been awaited.
But here is the thing … they probably would not have been looking for a baby. They would have been looking for the Messiah, a King, who was going to turn their world upside down and restore order and justice. They wanted the political order of their day to be changed. They thought their need was for a king and justice. God knew they needed a Savior.
The shepherds would have overlooked the baby in a manger if not that they were given a full description:
“And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (verse 12, NLT)
Perhaps we sometimes do not see Him in our lives because we are looking for our own expectations to be met. He is easily overlooked in the common and mundane, and He is there all along. The shepherds found Him in a manger. In a stable with the smells and messes to be found in a common stable. He is in our messes as well. We may not need to look far but just open our eyes to see Him before us.
Today may we see Him in our ordinary day
in unexpected ways
for He truly knows best what we need in our lives.