by S. Kent Brown
After the angel appeared to the shepherds, they “came with haste” to Bethlehem and “found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger” (Luke 2:16). The verb “to find” hints strongly that the shepherds had to search for the infant and his parents. As is typical still in Middle Eastern villages, there were no street addresses. One finds the home of an acquaintance by asking people in the village (see Acts 10:17). The “sign” offered by the angel (Luke 2:12), which also serves as an address, indicates an unusual circumstance—an infant lying in a trough for cattle—which will tell the shepherds that they have found the right family. Thus the sign, or description of the baby’s circumstance, will guide the shepherds in their hunt for the child. To illustrate the difficulty of finding people in a town or city when a person lacks contacts, we need only think of the three days that Jesus’s parents hunted for him in Jerusalem (Luke 2:46). What is the message for us? That it takes diligent effort to find the Christ.