“The Road to Bethlehem” Advent devotion for December 15, 2021. Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash
On the heels of the amazing news that “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” the angel adds, “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)
Many would expect a sign from God to be something spectacular. Something like a burning bush, a chariot of fire, the sun moving backwards through the sky, or a talking donkey. How about walking on water, turning water into wine, stilling the storm or raising the dead? Those are pretty good signs.
Babies are born and wrapped up in blankets every day. Nothing out of the ordinary. I guess laying your infant in a feeding trough is unconventional. But it’s not much of a “sign.”
On the other hand, a lot of signs aren’t spectacular. A scratchy throat could be a sign you’ve got a cold. Uneven tire tread wear is a sign that your car needs an alignment. Your dog keeps scratching? Could be a sign that he has fleas.
A baby is a sign that God is still creating life in this world. Suddenly there is a new little people with their own little fingerprints, toes and personalities. The Creator isn’t done yet.
Babies are a great reminder that the world doesn’t revolve around you. There is someone else who demands your time, depends on your care, and wants to be held.
Babies open our eyes to a whole new kind of love. They love us, no questions asked. And we love them in a different way than we ever loved before.
Babies are a sign of hope. They inspires us to think of the future. What will they grow up to be? What will they love to do? What will they accomplish? We can’t wait to find out!
It’s also a sign that he gets it. The Christ travels the road to Bethlehem. He comes into the world just like us, as a baby. He grows, he learns, he works, he sleeps, he eats and makes friends. Just like us. He’s loves, he hurts, he thirsts, he bleeds. Just like us. This baby is a sign that he knows, he understands, he cares and he can relate to anything we experience. Wrapped in cloths as he enters the world, he will be wrapped in linen when he breathes his last.
Most of all, this baby is a sign that God is with us. Bad news and tough times seem to indicate the absence of God. A baby suddenly reminds us that he is here, with us. Just when we need him the most.
Thank you, Lord, for the sign of a baby, your presence among us. Yes, you’ve taught us about a whole new kind of love. Amen.