The Christmas Sign
As I contemplated this ancient prophecy of Isaiah this Christmas, I noticed it doesnít simply say, ďThe Lord will give you a sign,Ē it says, ďThe Lord HIMSELF will give you a sign.Ē Somehow that puts more of an emphasis on God, that He Himself, not His representative or anybody else, but the Almighty God Himself, would give us a sign. That sounds to me like the sign was pretty significant, that it would be given by God HIMSELF.
So what is a sign? I looked in a thesaurus, and some of the words I came up with for sign were: signal, indication, warning, precursor, notice, poster, signpost, marker, indicator, billboard, put a signature on (v), authorize, endorse, autograph, signal, gesture. Again, it sounds to me like God would be sending something to us, notifying us in a big way about something very, very important!
So what was this signal, indication, warning, precursor, notice, poster, signpost, marker, indicator, billboard, put a signature on (v), authorize, endorse, autograph, signal, gesture that God was to send us? It was that a virgin would conceive and bear a Son, and His name would be called Immanuel, or God With Us. I think itís fair to say that only God Himself could cause such a thing to happen(See Luke 1: 26- 38), and surely it should catch our attention like a flashing neon sign, that here we are faced with the cornerstone of what became known as Christianity, the virgin birth of the one and only Son of God. If we donít believe that, it all stops here.
Godís sign to us would ask us to believe the impossible. That only starts with the virgin birth. He continues to ask us to believe the impossible even today, and itís called living by faith. We walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), but oh, how we long to see before we walk! I always think of it as jumping off a cliff in the dark, in the fog, not knowing whether that cliff is 6 inches or 6 miles high. But itís trusting that God will either catch us, prevent harm from our fall, or give us wings.
But, we cry, ďIf God wouldíve meant for us to fly off cliffs, He wouldíve given us wings!Ē Then it would not be faith, it would be sight and our own ability. Itís like believing in the virgin birth. We either believe or we donít, and if we do, a whole new world opens to us as we sail off cliffs.
Thatís how I live in Africa.