8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
As I read this from Luke I couldn’t help but think of what I expect to find at that cradle. There’s a lot of beautiful images that fill my head that are probably more romance than reality. I can understand the bright light of the Glory of the Lord and Heavenly Hosts would certainly be signs and maybe a baby with a halo but the angel specifically said “And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” Wasn’t that what every baby was wrapped in?
There’s an old story of a European ruler who would sneak away and walk among his people incognito. It drove his security people nuts but his response was “I cannot rule my people unless I know how they live.” This birth was just like that: God revealed to our world as an ordinary baby, wrapped in ordinary swaddling clothes…from ordinary parents in an ordinary stable…incognito.
This is a mystery I’m wondering about this Advent. How many times have I missed God because the circumstances seemed too ordinary? Isn’t that the whole reason we walk again to the cradle year after year? It’s our chance to see a miracle wrapped in The Clothes of Reality.