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And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12 NKJV).

The announcement of Jesus’ birth to the shepherds was great news, not just for them but for all people – that Christ was born, the long-awaited Messiah, Lord, and King. And the angels said, “…this will be the sign to you – the baby Jesus, lying in the manger in Bethlehem. The baby Jesus was the sign. Emmanuel had come!

The news was so great that a great multitude from heaven joined the angel, declaring in the presence of the shepherds, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV).

This Child, God with us, would make possible true peace on earth and goodwill toward all people. The elusive peace of heart, soul, mind, relationships, families, and nations could be realized and experienced for the first time. 

This Child, as His mother said later (v34), was destined for the “fall and rising again” of many billions of people from that day – that is, falling in surrender before Jesus’ loving, sovereign, Lordship. Repenting of sin and shame — and rising again, by the power of God’s Spirit, through holy baptism, into a new life, new creation, a whole new reality of peace and goodwill in Christ.

I love the idea of a baby being the sign of the wonder and beauty of God in Christ. I believe babies still are the sign, not in the sense that they are Emmanuel, but in bearing His image, being created in His likeness. Babies remind me that Jesus was born into the world the same all human beings—innocent and trusting, tender and vulnerable; Jesus was all of that as well— who would have believed that God would come to save us this way? A baby, wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger. 

Today, when I see a baby, I remember the sign and give glory to God in the Highest because Christ has come, and peace and goodwill are closer now than ever before.

Next time you are blessed to see a newborn, remember the sign and give God praise.