A Sign For You
“And here is a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)
Let us set the scene: They were lowly shepherds. Too poor to have a roof to cover their heads, they lived in the fields of the sheep they tended. It was The Night upon which every day prior, and every day after, marked its place in time. Heaven was rent open and the Glory of God shown about them, and the angel of the Lord appeared to them and said, “… I bring you news of great joy …Today …a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Immediately, the shepherds set off and found Christ the Lord, The Baby, clothed in rags, in a manger –and they glorified God.
Why did God entrust the greatest newsflash in history to unconnected, unimportant, homeless sheep herders? Why was the King of Kings born into a stable adorned in hay and manure? Why was the Prince of Peace wrapped in rags? Why did the Almighty Savior debut as a helpless baby? Maybe it is because Jesus has come as The Sign pointing to Truth. “…he was rich, but he became poor for your sake, to make you rich out of his poverty.” (2Cor 8:9). …“His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, and became as men are; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross …But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names…” (Phil 2:6-9)
The Humble Baby, in humble rags, in a humble manger became The Sign pointing to our God. In his Poverty we find our Richness. Poverty is the Signature of Christ; the Pathway to Life; the Source of our Meaning. Only in our emptiness, in our powerlessness, in our poverty, can we recognize The Baby, dressed in rags, in the manger.
Herod happened upon the Truth as the Magi sought directions, but Herod did not want to find God –he wanted to be God- so he tried to kill The Truth among the Holy Innocents. Thirty-three years later, his successor did, but only for three days -as it lay hidden conquering Death. The Rich Young Man was seeking Truth, but impoverished by his wealth, he turned his back on Jesus. And the Pharisees and Sadducees, smugly comforted in their religiosity, could not recognize their Savior. But, the Shepherds, the Sick, the Destitute, and the Thief on the Cross –all faced life and came up Empty; and all, recognized the Humble Face of Jesus. Such is the Mystery of Mercy. Only in surrendering to our Brokenness, to our Emptiness, are we ripped open and rendered to Truth.As we stay the course, let us pray that we become ever more Desperate -for Truth. Let us pray that in confronting our Poverty, we not deny it, but embrace it; that we recognize the Face of our Lord -a Sign that Salvation is near: “A cry goes up from the poor man, and Yahweh hears, and helps him in all his troubles.” (Ps 34:6). With Joyful Hope, let us gaze upon The Baby, wrapped in rags, lying await in the manger. Let us Rejoice that God is among us to save.