And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” Luke 2:12
A sign to you, the angel said. That was all the shepherds had to go on was a town, a baby in swaddling clothes, and a manger. We have the modern temptation to look upon the 1st century as a sort of barbarian-infested madness wherein people somehow lived without cell phones and iPods. "How could those dirty shepherds find the Christ Child among the dozens of babies born in animal feeding troughs that night?" the modern reader is tempted to ask, and with no GPS to guide them to the stables at that.
A sign is something so unusual that it cannot be missed. I'm not completely sure what a swaddle is or even how to do it, but I'm thinking that swaddling clothes was not so unusual. However, placing a newborn in a manger was so unusual that the shepherds had only to go to the stables. Of course the people in Mary and Joseph's time didn't place something so precious in animal feeding bunkers unless there was no other choice. Surely most babies born in that time received the same tender, loving care that we lavish on our newborns even now. That there was no room for them in the inn was known to Luke because Mary remembered it years later as another unusual thing. Of course young mothers were not sent out to the stables to have their babies then just as they wouldn't be now. Something so unusual happened and the shepherds were directed to it with that very sign.
A seemingly simple sign to the shepherds from an unusual source brought them to a wonder: the Son of God born in a lowly place; a Savior to save the fallen sons of Adam and daughters of Eve.
Peach on Earth as we begin the Christmas weekend!Bucky