By tradition, we call this Christmas Eve. By this time Joseph found a retreat for himself and Mary so that Jesus could be born. They settled in waiting for nature to take its course. Somewhere, somehow, he rounded up food for the two of them. He made Mary as comfortable as possible. Apparently, there was some means to light the area whether it be by candle or torch. Besides food, he needed to fetch water. The Scripture says that the newborn infant Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Just outside of Bethlehem the shepherds were tending their flocks. An angel walked up to them announcing the birth of Jesus. Accompanying that Angel were many other Angels saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill toward men.” The Bible does not say they sang even though that is in one of our most popular Christmas songs: Hark, the Herold Angels sing
The Angels told them to go into Bethlehem and they would find the babe in a manger wrapped in swaddling clothes. So much emphasis has been on the manger which was a feed trough turned into a crib for the baby. Allow me to emphasize where the meaning of the Angels words was most profound.
All newborn babies were wrapped in swaddling clothes. It was a practice of mothers to take strips of cloth about 5 inches wide and wrap the baby with his arms, feet and legs tightly bound. As far back as the sixth century BC the prophet Ezekiel referred to swaddling a baby in chapter 16 verse 4. So, this was definitely not anything new.
To me the most important part of this Christmas story is that the angel said to go and find. Obviously if they did not go, they would not find. Equally certain, because they went on God’s mission, they did find.
This is a profound Christmas truth that is true for us today. When we go for God, we shall find what he has there for us. If the shepherds had not been obedient, they would never have had the glorious experience of worshiping before the Lord. Let us be about our Christmas mission. Let us listen to God. Let us go. We shall find!