You will find a child, God's angel said to the terrified shepherds, which is the miracle of
Christmas in a few simple words.
The conversation itself is a miracle, a collision of worlds: heaven's press secretary chatting up a few homeless guys who live with their animals and shady reputations outside of town.
You will find a child who is everything the world has ever hoped for and more.
God almighty dispatched me directly to you to welcome salvation for the world.
In the shock and terror of this wild moment, no one bothers to ask directions.
How exactly will the shepherds find this baby?
They don't have GPS or cell phones.
The angel provides no map or directions.
There is no special star; that's Matthew's story, not Luke's.
There is no reason to think the shepherds would be welcome in town, which is now over crowded from the census, making a much bigger haystack in which to find this newborn
The manger has no street address.
They have about as much chance of finding this kid as any of us have of finding God.
In my family, there's a sad running joke about no forwarding address.
As a young man, my Dad returned home from the army to discover that his parents had
moved without telling him.
They left him no forwarding address, no way to locate them.
He was on his own, alone in the world, like so many others for whom we double our
prayers during the holidays.
He was a man without a home and without a family—like a shepherd.
You will find a child, the angel says to men like this, and they race off so fast there that no
one stops to consider or remember how.
The mystery and miracle of Christmas is that somehow, against enormous odds, the angel's
promise comes true.
The shepherds find the baby.
And the baby is how God finds us.
He will grow up and tell stories about a shepherd who finds a lost sheep, and a woman who finds a lost coin, and a father reunited with a lost son.
He will break bread in a room full of friends and traitors and doubters and deniers, sharing a tiny morsel with each of us and saying, "Here I am, for you."
These are all versions of the reliable impossible that is Christmas: those of us who could never find God no matter how resourceful or hard working or well connected we are get jolted with a flash and a voice from the sky: Do not be afraid.
See, I bring you good news of great joy for all the people.
To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
God is smaller and sweeter and stronger and softer and more real than you would ever guess or discover or imagine, a love that is deeper and truer than you could ever find on your own.
This timeless love, this newborn God will find you.