Luke 2:12 AMPC
“And this will be a sign for you [by which you will recognize Him]: you will find [after searching] a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.“
Bethlehem, though it was a very small town, would have still been very busy. Remember, several people had journeyed there to participate in the census. In fact, all those who were of the line and family of David had made the trip there. Just picture a small town where every relative decides to come home for the holidays. Every house and “inn” was packed – with adults, children, babies, animals, and their belongings.
Maybe that’s what your home is like during the holidays. Or the place you travel to to be with family? You know how it can get. Bedrooms get reassigned and shared, couches are pulled out, sleeping bags are lined up in rows for all the kids. You get creative with where to put people. Or maybe you go the hotel route. That’s great too, but as we well know, the few places that were available were booked to capacity as well.
The city would have been buzzing. Just due to the sheer demand this increased crowd would have placed on a small town for food and household items. In other words, nothing was as it usually is. So how were the shepherds (who weren’t even from Bethlehem) supposed to find a baby and how were they to know He was the One?
A sign is a mark, a token. It’s defined as an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature. It can be something that seems out of place or that shows up at a very unexpected time or even repeatedly. Whatever the case may be, there are times when God will highlight something to us in order to communicate, confirm or guide us on a very personal level. And signs always serve to point us to a greater reality.
I can’t really say that I operate in a way where I am constantly asking God for signs. Though biblically, God’s nature proves to me that He is merciful and gracious should we ask with the right heart. (Just look at the story of Gideon in Judges 6). But the other side of this same coin for me is that in my experience I tend to see signs everywhere. And here’s what I’ve learned to be true: especially in those times where “nothing is at is should be” or when we feel a little out of sorts or unsure about what steps to take – God can and will cut through the noise and busyness and make Himself known to us. But we must be alert and our spiritual eyes and ears must be opened to Him.
Today, my prayer for myself, for my family and for you, my friend, was simply this: That you would see Him. That He would make Himself known to you in a special way. That amidst all the busyness of the holidays, you’d be able to spot something that He either placed there on purpose for you or highlighted for you to see. And that you wouldn’t discount that sign (and what it’s meant to communicate), but that it would fill you with wonder and remind you that He is near.