More accurately I would ask, "How did God reveal Himself to you?"
The truth is, God has to manifest himself to us in order for us to know Him. Anything you know about God He had to show you. One of the truths we can find in the story of Jesus' coming to Earth is that He reveals Himself in different ways. This is most easily seen when you consider the Wise men and the Shepherds.
The Wise Men
Matthew 2:1-2 - "Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, 2 "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him." [Holy Bible, New Living Translation]
To these great minds, God was a mystery to be resolved, a set of stars shining in the night with some cosmic message.Consider how they would have had to map and chart the skies, night after night. They would have had to research the star maps from years before to see the difference.
They would have found the star in the East to be a BEACON - like a beacon on light house, leading them closer and closer and ever closer to the King of Kings. And once they had discovered this cosmic message. They would have made weeks, even months of preparation for the long journey across the dessert and many foreign lands.
To these men - God was a mystery to be discovered. He left these men clues and signpost to follow. God showed them some amazing star patterns and left one star enough of a mystery that these men had to seek it out and believed God was calling them from heaven to follow the star.
And follow they did, until they found Jesus.
Luke 2:8-20 - "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9) An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10) But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11) Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12) This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13) Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14) "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15) When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
16) So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17) When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18) and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19) But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20) The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. [NIV]
There was no mystery in their revelation. God had an angel appear to them. SHAZAAMM. POOF! One brilliantly shining angel surrounded by God's glory. When ONE ANGEL appeared... the GLORY of the LORD appeared with the Angel (all around the shepherds). (Like a SCI-FI energy mass, field maybe). And with there hearts pounding out of their chest the Angel told them "Don't be afraid, I have good news of GREAT JOY! Today in Bethlehem (City of David) a Savior is born - Christ the Lord.
Then so they could find the baby and know it was real - There is a sign, search for a baby lying in a manger. Note how different this revelation is... Spirit being, surrounded by the Glory of God.. tell them GREAT THEOLOGICAL TRUTH - followed by practical realities that help them connect the dots. All in Same Night... no long searching..weeks of research.
Now after this CLEAR, complete THEOLOGICAL and PRACTICAL Explanation - A large group, called a heavenly host of angels appeared praising God and saying GLORY to GOD in the HIGHEST - and on earth PEACE to men on whom his favor rest!"
One angel now supported by thousands... speaking of God's glory and man's benefits. This revelation was spectacular
Soon as angels left - they said.. lets' go see it... which the Lord told us about.
For the Shepherds, the News was for ALL the PEOPLE but the Shepherds heard it first. and SPREAD THE NEWS! (are you spreading the News?)
But the results of God's love and the reason He sent Jesus to earth is accomplished in both stories.
God didn't Just send Jesus to Earth for Us, God sent Jesus to Earth so that He could be glorified by us! He sent Jesus for His GLORY! The Wise men - searching and curious find Jesus and worship Him. The Shepherds, stunned and certain, find Jesus and worship Him.
I wonder how God is revealing Himself to you this year. I wonder will you find a supernatural revelation that can only be explained by God or clues that lead you to search for God in unlikely places until you find the One who can make all things new?
Either way, when God manifest himself you are forever changed! And the good news is the JOY is possible. To all my friends who struggle to find JOY. Jesus came to give JOY and the angel announced it to the simple blue-collar/ no collar shepherds. Joy is possible.
Find Jesus, get to know Him and you will find JOY.