The Hope Collective Advent Guide
Joy | Week 4 | Day 26
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Great News That Will Bring Glorious Joy
No doubt there was more than one baby lying wrapped in strips of cloth on the night of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. For the poor of that day, who had nothing else to wrap a baby in, that was nothing unusual. But to put a baby in a manger was most unusual. And so, the sign was given to the shepherds. “You can go and hunt around Bethlehem, but you’re only going to find one baby—a poor little baby—wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. That is the One.”
Scripture has always insisted that God’s message be verifiable. You can check out what God says and find it to be true.
There are a lot of people who give an academic nod to the Christmas story. They would have absolutely no problem nodding their way through this statement, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Who wouldn’t nod in agreement to a communication of this nature? But how many of us would actually go search for the baby and dare to prove God true?
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. (Luke 2:15-16)
God has communicated Christmas to us so that we might verify it as true in our lives. He wants us to go, like the shepherds, and see if the Savior has really come. Has God actually visited you, where you live, in the middle of your ordinary life? Do you have the energy, curiosity, or the will to come to the manger yourself and see what you find?
At Christmas time God cups His hands over His mouth, as it were, and shouts at the top of His voice, so that with all the din going on around them, human beings might hear what He has to say: “Listen! I’ve got great news that will bring you glorious joy!”
Meditate on the doorway of heaven flying open with joyous, thunderous praises of angels ringing out. Try to comprehend the grand dimensions of their message. Listen carefully to what God is communicating. He has something important to say to all of us, in all places and at all times, and it’s a message worth listening to.
– Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Meet Him at the Manger, org. Used with permission.
Oh God, what glorious joy you bring! Help me to comprehend the greatness of your message to me. Father God, bring me to the manger that I may seek after you daily. Stop me in my busyness that I may hear from you. Grow my curiosity, that I may follow your will and not my own. Amen.
Offer to take an elderly person shopping or to the movies or just for a drive to see the Christmas lights.
Take time to sit and listen to a friend or child who needs to talk. The gift of your complete presence will bless them.
Stand outside of a gas station and give gas cards to people to help them pay for gas (get permission from the station’s attendant to do so).
Put a candy cane in your neighbor’s mailbox with a note of joy attached to it. Use it as an opportunity to talk as a family about why we should spread joy to those around us and not keep it to ourselves.