Luke 2:10-12 “But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'”
The shepherds, we are told were given a sign. Signs look like one thing but represent another. And usually they look simple but point to something more profound.
So it was in this case. A simple scene – a new born babe, wrapped in cloths – there’s nothing too extraordinary about that. The sign was simple. But the message behind the sign was the most profound message the world has ever heard.
This baby would be for the rising and falling of nations (Luke 2:34-35). This baby was good news and the source of great joy for people in a way that no baby before or since could ever be, even though the birth of babies are undoubtedly newsworthy and joyous events.
When the shepherds set their eyes on this baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger they were supposed to see beyond the animal stall, beyond the cloths and beyond the weak crying baby; they were supposed to see the fulfilment of promises; the substance of hope; the light of the world!
Perhaps, had the angel not said “this will be a sign”, the shepherds might have got caught up with the birth and missed its surpassing significance. We could do the same. This Christmas there will be plenty of talk of a baby in a manger, but what about the bright dawning of Redemption? What about sins forgiven and eternal peace with God? These are the joys that the baby Jesus wrapped in cloths was about to accomplish!