Nearly two thousand years ago the firstborn son of a young couple arrived while that couple was in a strange city to comply with a decree from the ruler of the known world. The birth was uneventful to the emperor, also to the king of the conquered people an unsavory fellow from an unsavory family named Herod. The birth was unnoticed by the high priest team of Annas and Caiaphas and all of the scribes and pharisees who, if they had truly known the scriptures and heeded the words of the prophets would have seen the signs. As our world becomes more technologically advanced and people become more isolated, there are many who seem to drift by unnoticed. Can we recognize God's signs in our lives?
In that world the poorest of the poor tended sheep and drove the flocks to pasture in fresh fields both day and night. To these appeared the multitude of the heavenly host as described by Luke 2:8-14. Those shepherds left charge of their flocks and made haste to a stable where the couple of modest means had sought shelter. Their son lay in a manger in the midst of animals, not in a palace, or hospital, or even at home. The shepherds recalled what the strange and fearsome beings in the sky had said and they knelt and praised God.
When eight days had been completed the baby underwent the circumcision ceremony and his name was pronounced Yeshua, the name that had been given to his mother by God's messenger Gabriel. When the days of her purification were completed they took the baby to Jerusalem to be presented to the LORD. A man of advanced years took the child in his arms, praised God and implored Him to “let his servant depart in peace.” For his “eyes had seen the salvation that God has prepared.” A woman prophetess of advanced years who spent her life in prayer and fasting in the temple also hastened to see the child and began to loudly proclaim to all who were there the great thing God had done. Far off in the east, learned men who studied the heavens saw an unusually bright star and decided to begin a journey to follow that star. Two years later they arrived in the region and had an audience with king Herod, who was troubled that learned visitors were inquiring about a royal birth. When they came to the home the child was in they too knelt before him and presented him with gifts worthy of a king, priest and prophet. Poor people, elderly people and strangers could clearly see what the best and brightest in Israel could not.
God revealed his salvation with an inauspicious birth to ordinary people. He let his son be raised in an unlikely place until the time was accomplished that He should begin His ministry. Yet no other birth in history made the impact on the world that Christ Jesus made. Our God works wonderful things using ordinary people and ordinary means. Let us learn from history and be open to the will of God, let us give thanks to Him for the resources He gives us and let us study his word for the signs of the times.