God gave the shepherds a sign.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
(Luke 2:11-12 ESV)
I wonder if the shepherds were taken aback by "the sign." With quite the spectacular angelic announcement, maybe they didn't even think twice about it. But I wonder if they thought that simple sign odd. The Christ...in a manger? Really? That humble? That...low?
If the shepherds, at this point, had any preconceived ideas of how the Christ would come, they found those shattered in that moment of time. I can't fathom that in their wildest imaginings, they ever thought that their Savior would be born in a stable.
But that was the sign they got, and that was the sign they saw fulfilled.
The baby in the manger was the sign of Jesus' first coming to this earth.
For some strange reason, the other day I was feeling a bit jealous of the sign given to the shepherds. It was almost like my junior high self took over my body for an instant, and I heard her whine, "I want a sign like the shepherds had!"
God in his patient, kind, but firm way, reminded me that I and the rest of the world were going to get some signs - signs of Jesus' second coming to earth.
A description of those signs is found in Mark 13 and Matthew 24. The signs described in those chapters are not cute and cuddly like a baby in a manger. But the words are truth - truth we need to hear and need to prepare for.
We might be taken aback by these hard signs described. It's then that we dig deeper in to the word, and lean harder onto Christ.
And we remind ourselves that the baby in the manger is our soon coming King.